Michelle Cronin: How can employers support those affected by domestic abuse?

Michelle Cronin

In December 2018 Thompsons Solicitors pledged its commitment to the GMB union’s Work to Stop Domestic Abuse charter, signed the five-point commitment and pledged to deliver on its aims in full by Autumn 2019, in order to ensure staff across our network of 17 offices have access to support, services and information if they experience domestic abuse.

When almost two million people are living in fear of domestic abuse each and every year, it is time to stand up and take collective action to make a change.

Thompsons has fought to promote and protect people’s rights in their everyday lives and at work throughout our almost hundred-year history. We could not continue to fight for social justice without the ongoing commitment of our staff, and looking after their wellbeing is a key part of being a great place to work.

Domestic abuse compromises people’s safety, welfare and esteem, and as a responsible employer we need affected employees to know they have access to safe, confidential support.

According to data from charity Safe Lives, published in 2015, 85% of people sought help on average five times from professionals before they received effective assistance to stop the abuse they were facing. The GMB’s employer charter offers us a framework to proactively support people from our organisation who may otherwise be suffering in silence, and make those all-important contacts count.

We ensure that those experiencing domestic abuse are not to be disadvantaged within the terms and conditions of their employment and take all reasonable measures to facilitate any needs in the workplace, while also enabling employees experiencing domestic abuse to access support services and information confidentially.

We are developing relationships with other organisations to facilitate the best environment for those experiencing domestic abuse, and we are using these relationships to develop toolkits, information and training across the organisation, to ensure we provide adequate access to support within the workplace for all employees.

Michelle Cronin is director of people, finance and infrastructure at Thompsons Solicitors