Over the last quarter, Cambridgeshire police, have responded to 2,398 domestic abuse call outs. Now is the time to break the silence on domestic abuse and become a professional friend to your employees.

Domestic Abuse in 2019 is viewed in a similar light to mental health 10 years ago. Whilst there has been a necessary rise on mental health awareness in recent years domestic abuse is still, regrettably, on the back foot. The two go hand in hand and it is now widely accepted that domestic abuse contributes hugely in the development of; depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders. Sufferers of domestic abuse who consequently develop mental health issues may also have their mental health used against them. Recent research suggests 30-60% of women with a mental health problem across the UK have also suffered from domestic abuse in some form and as such it is imperative both are recognised in every business, irrespective of staff numbers across the country.

On Thursday Kameo Recruitment, in conjunction with Cambridge Women’s Aid and Councillor Nicky Massey stood in front of several of Cambridgeshire’s business professionals as the first business in the city helping to raise awareness of domestic abuse and the affects it may have on employees. Domestic abuse costs the UK economy £66 billion per year. This is greater than the total estimated economic and social cost of crime (£50 billion). Kameo Recruitment was set up in 2018 to not only offer recruitment services but to use as a platform to support those who have or are suffering as a result of domestic abuse. Working alongside Councillor Nicky Massey we are hoping to introduce a kite mark across Cambridgeshire which businesses can use to demonstrate they are stamping out abuse in all forms. This kite mark will be used to inform those affected that there is at least one person in their workplace who they can confidentially confide in and who has the resources available to help them on their journey to freedom.

1 in 6 men and 1 in 4 women will be affected by domestic abuse at some point in their lives, this statistic is staggering, and businesses need to know that a subtle change in an individual’s behaviour could be the result of domestic abuse. Health, safety and feeling valued at work is paramount to business success and research suggests healthy and happy employees are more productive. More importantly a failure to protect an employee from violence could be a breach of your health and safety duties. Despite what may seem obvious the nature of this difficult topic makes it harder for businesses to identify victims, senior employees are not trained on how to spot victims least of all support them but we must stop coming up with reasons why we can’t and become better at acknowledging that we can and must do more. In September 2019 the BBC revealed “the number of people killed as a result of domestic violence in the UK is at its highest level in five years”. Statistics like this in 2019 are gravely disturbing and sadly the only safe-haven victims have away from their perpetrators is their place of work, it is often the only place other than home they can go and therefore the responsibility to question unusual behaviour begins with us.

As a business you need to know there is an abundance of literature, useful tools and people ready to support you and your staff as you begin making changes to your business, changes which will undoubtedly positively impact the lives of many if executed appropriately and professionally.  It is hard to hold your hands up and say our business is not doing enough, but if your business does not have both a wellbeing and abuse policy, we implore you to get one. Kameo can offer through our existing network the support and confidence you will need to not only establish this policy but reinforce and refer to it on a regular basis.

EACH ONE OF US CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE, TOGETHER WE MAKE CHANGE.

Useful links;

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-49459674

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics/mental-health-statistics-domestic-violence

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-advice-to-help-employers-deal-with-domestic-abuse-and-stigma