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H9. Domestic Violence
25 June, 2013
Submitted: 22 May, 2014
Please describe measures you have taken to ensure that an appropriate, safe and sensitive response can be implemented to support your staff in response to experience of stalking, violence or abuse in their lives, which has an effect on people in the workplace.
The Department is committed to promoting the welfare of all employees and to support and assist any staff member who is experiencing domestic violence and abuse. We have been working hard to raise awareness of domestic violence and develop a workplace culture where it is recognised as being unacceptable and taken seriously.
As part of this programme, we have set up a working group which is a sub-group of the Violence Against Women and Girls cross-Government programme to share good practice in this area and to monitor progress across Government.
Not only is domestic violence part of the Department of Healthâ€™s staff Health and Well-being Programme, but staff volunteers have come together and formed the Domestic Abuse Support Group to walk the journey to support to individual colleagues who disclose that they have or are enduring domestic violence or abuse. The Corporate Alliance against Domestic Violence is a key partner that we have been working with for the past two years. The Alliance provided extensive training for the volunteers who have formed the Domestic Abuse Support Group which was launched in June last year, by Dr Felicity Harvey, Director General for Public Health, who champions this work within the Department. The Support Group came about as a result of the on-going initiatives of the Departmentâ€™s Employee Health and Well-being Programme in which a number of peer support groups have been established to support staff. Many of the members have had their lives touched by domestic violence in some way and really want to help others at risk or who may be going through a similar experience. We have so far trained 10 Domestic Violence Champions who are available to speak in confidence with those wanting support, whether or not they are ready to seek professional advice. They are committed to walking the journey with each colleague who wishes to disclose and seek advice.
Some of the other practical things we have done in the Department of Health include:
Providing guidelines on domestic abuse on our staff intranet site;
An internal promotion to inform staff about the help that is available: Posters in toilet cubicles with information cards that staff can take away, which include contact numbers for the National Domestic Helpline and the Departmentâ€™s Employee Assistance Programme providers and where to contact the Support Group members of their choice. We are in the process of updating the posters and will be displayed in our offices in Leeds too.
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