Crime commissioner Vera Baird has launched a campaign to involve businesses in the drive against domestic violence.
Statistics show domestic abuse leads to a loss of almost £1.9bn a year to the UK economy, a bill of £3.8bn to services and costs companies a staggering £12bn a year in lost productivity and output.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria Vera Baird believes the region’s firms can play a significant role in aiding employees who are experiencing domestic and sexual violence and abuse.
The commissioner is calling upon all businesses to adopt a workplace strategy to spot the signs of abuse and offer support, with free training offered to those involved.
A free event in Newcastle, on Monday, March 3, will outline full details of the domestic violence workplace strategy for North East businesses.
The commissioner said: “We know as responsible employers, businesses provide their members of staff with a safe working environment.
“Sadly for some women and men their workplace is the only place where they are free from the violence and abuse they are suffering at home and which can impact on their ability to work.
“Sometimes their workplace can also put people at greater risk of harm as, following a separation, it can be the only place where their partner can find them.
“All of this means that employers need to demonstrate a real interest in this issue by taking on a workplace policy and the aim is to make it an accepted component of modern businesses.
“We know that good policies already exist in some major companies and public authorities. There are stories about victims who could not get help at work and whose situation got worse and also of people who were able to get assistance from their workplace and feel that their employer played a significant role in helping them to be safe.
“We know both women and men experience domestic violence, however, national studies do show that the majority of victims of this abuse are female.
“My office wants to hear from directors, senior managers or anyone with responsibility for these issues in their workplace as free training is being provided to employers to raise awareness of domestic violence and the impact it can have on individuals.”
Firms interested in attending the event can contact Violence Against Women Project Officer Sue Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org by February 17.