On September 3, Hestia, a crisis support charity based in England, launched a new advice line for businesses supporting employees experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse has been launched by crisis support charity Hestia. This is part of Hestia’s Everyone’s Business project.
1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime with 10 percent of victims reporting abuse at work and the Everyone’s Business Advice Line will be a point of contact for businesses, supporting them on how to approach disclosures of domestic abuse by their employee. Businesses play a significant role in supporting those who experience domestic abuse. Whilst 86 per cent employers agree they have a duty of care to support employees experiencing domestic abuse fewer than one in three victims disclose the abuse at work, citing “shame”.
Lockdown has shown that home is not always safe for everyone, and with more people working remotely due to Covid-19, cases of domestic abuse are rising. Hestia saw a 47 percent increase in victims reaching out for information and support on its free domestic abuse app, Bright Sky.
“Lockdown has meant victims have been away from their place of work, in isolation with their abusers, often with no way to seek support,” says Lyndsey Dearlove, Head of Everyone’s Business Advice Line at Hestia. “Now, as more people return to their place of work, employers have a unique role to play in breaking the silence around domestic abuse.”
She adds: “By providing a free advice line that offers guidance, employers will be able to help their employees and direct them to practical support. When employers take action and respond to domestic abuse, we know it saves lives. For too long domestic abuse has been nobody’s business and it is time it becomes everyone’s business.”
While over 2.4 million people are affected by domestic abuse every year, it can be difficult for employers to recognize the signs and support those experiencing domestic abuse in their organization. Hestia launched the Everyone’s Business programme to increase awareness and support in the workplace and have worked with over 70 organisations from the Metropolitan Police to Balfour Beatty.
“Domestic abuse can have devastating consequences, and leave people faced with impossible life choices,” says Susan Bright, Global Managing Partner for Diversity & Inclusion and Responsible Business at Hogan Lovells.
“Employers have an important role to play in supporting their employees, particularly this year and during the pandemic. We welcome the launch of the new advice line and hope that it will ease some of the pressure on those who are vulnerable.”
A survivor of domestic abuse reveals: “When my employer started working with Hestia, it was a turning point. This was my last resort to get help. I met with their Independent Domestic Violence Advocate and talked about my experience. It was the first time I felt believed. It was like a weight had been lifted. Without this service, I don’t know what would have happened. It is vital that businesses can provide this type of service. I want to tell anyone who is in the same situation I was in that talking to someone can make so much difference – speak to your employer.”
For more information and the contact details, visit https://www.hestia.org/
At Hestia we support adults and children in times of crisis. For 50 years we have been delivering services, as well as campaigning and advocating nationally on the issues that affect the people we work with. From giving someone a home, to helping them to get the right mental health support, we support people at the moment of crisis and enable them to build a life beyond crisis.
Hestia is one of the largest providers of domestic abuse refuges in London and one of the largest organisations supporting victims of modern slavery in the UK. We are proud to be the home of UK SAYS NO MORE, a national campaign to end domestic abuse which launched the ground breaking Safe Spaces initiatives.
As part of Hestia’s work, we launched Everyone’s Business to provide employers with the right resources to recognise and prevent domestic abuse, including digital tools such as the free Bright Sky app. When employers take action and respond to domestic abuse, we know it saves lives.
About Everyone’s Business:
Everyone’s Business works with employers so that they can provide information, resources and practical guidance to employees who are experiencing domestic abuse. Our programme provides the necessary tools so employers can support employees and provide safe solutions. We know that when employers take action and respond to domestic abuse, it saves lives.
Since the programme launched, Everyone’s Business has supported over 60 employers and reached over 240,000 employees with advice on domestic abuse.