Domestic abuse training aims to help Shropshire businesses support staff

Supporting employees experiencing domestic abuse is the focus of online training available for Shropshire businesses.

With the help of county High Sheriff Dean Harris, West Mercia Women’s Aid has partnered with Shropshire Domestic Abuse Service to develop the webinar sessions which will be hosted by Shropshire Chamber of Commerce and open to members and non-members alike.

One in four women and around one in six men experience domestic abuse in their lifetime – and authorities including the police have reported a significant rise in cases this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdown.

WMWA Chief Executive Sue Coleman said: “Domestic abuse has the potential to impact upon every aspect of a person’s life and those around them – family, friends, employers and professionals – they are often at a loss as to how to help.”

“WMWA has commissioned the production of an online resource for employers that will both promote greater understanding and provide practical suggestions for how an employer may best support those in their workforce who are being threatened, abused, victimised, bullied or controlled at home by those to whom one would instinctively look for love and support.”

Webinar sessions will be delivered by sector specialists and introduce the online interactive resource for employers, including advice on how to develop a Domestic Abuse Policy and example scenarios based on the real-life stories of survivors.  Local specialist services will also be highlighted, ensuring businesses know where to go for further advice and guidance if needed.

Dean Harris, High Sheriff of Shropshire, has helped instigate the sessions and gain the support of the Chamber. She added: “Domestic abuse is one of my three core priorities for my shrieval year, it impacts so many people and we need to shine a light on the signs of abuse, educate people about what is and is not acceptable behaviour, and promote the fantastic support services such as WMWA, SDAS, CAB and Safe Lives.  We have to adopt a holistic approach to tackling domestic abuse - prevention, protection, and repair.  Also, we have to remember the children who are living in households where domestic abuse is prevalent – they are victims too.

“I very much believe it’s everyone’s problem, and the solution is everyone’s problem.  If we don’t all look, we won’t all see. Tragically, two women a week and 30 men a year are killed in the UK through domestic violence – and people experience an average of 35 incidents before going to the police.

“It’s crucial that employers understand how to support their staff who may be experiencing abuse, and can play an active role in signposting them towards help. Spotting the signs and acting upon this really could save that person’s life.”

Anyone interested in attending can book on to one of three free sessions:

Tuesday 20th October from 2.30pm to 4pm;

Tuesday 20th October from 7.30pm to 9pm;

Friday 23rd October from 9.30am to 11am.

Visit www.shropshirechamber.co.uk/events for more information or to book.

Section: