Q: What issue was facing your organisation?
The challenge for our organisation was to try and ensure that police officers and staff personally affected by domestic abuse were not inhibited to seek help and support due to concerns over work/home life crossover.
Q: What action did your organisation take?
1) Police officers and staff were informally consulted to identify what they understood about the support available to them through the Constabulary and if there were any barriers to them seeking support or reporting domestic abuse.
2) Key issues were:
- a) Concerns that their own team would have to be the ones to respond to police call outs at their home or be the ones providing support (embarrassment, colleagues would feel they ‘should’ know what to do themselves)
- b) Potential impact on role in the organisation, for example if it was unsafe for them to be patrolling alone, would they be moved to a different role?
- c) Potential impact on career if disclose concerns over their own behaviour
- d) Concerns around confidentiality and ‘everyone knowing their business’
3) The findings, together with recommendations from Domestic Homicide Review helped form an action plan.
4) Current policy and procedures for domestic abuse were reviewed and it was decided that the information relating to police officers and staff affected by domestic abuse were quite limited, mainly by need to restrict the length of these documents and what is public/internal facing.
5) Consultations were held with domestic abuse leads, professional standards, training department, occupation health and others to agree updates to the policy and procedures.
6) As we wished to include more specific and detailed information, a further stand-alone guidance document was created which could be more flexible and easily updated than the formal policy and procedures.
7) Discussions were held about the internal confidential reporting options to publicise these as an option for gaining support and information relating to domestic abuse.
8) Discussions were held with the force’s training department to see how supervisors training could include responses to domestic abuse within their teams, including return to work interviews. Occupation health were also asked to include a domestic abuse questions within their standard forms, in the same way as people are asked about alcohol, mental health and other issues.
9) The updated documents were uploaded onto the intranet website and publicised via chief officers and ongoing are publicised linked to domestic abuse campaigns.
Whilst there was widespread support for improving access and removing barriers the processes from initial discussions to implementation of the revised guidance and policy documents was around 18 months. Ongoing discussions are being held to continually review options which may encourage reporting and help seeking, specifically around confidential help seeking and working with neighbouring police forces.
Q: What has been the impact of implementing health interventions?
The impact on staff within Hampshire Constabulary has been to ensure that those who are affected by domestic abuse have information to enable them to make an informed decision and be aware of potential consequences of disclosing the abuse – be they the victim or perpetrator.
Employees are now more aware of the support available to them if they disclose domestic abuse, what they should do if they are concerned about a colleague (victim or perpetrator), the support available to them and ways of reporting abuse in a confidential manner.
This will have a positive impact on the physical and emotional wellbeing of staff affected by domestic abuse as they have access to information to make informed decisions.