Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse

How domestic abuse disrupts women's employment

Historically domestic abuse was considered by some to only affect women at home. However it extends to all aspects of women’s lives, and the workplace is no exception; the majority of women experiencing domestic abuse are also targeted at work.

Perpetrators of domestic abuse often use a number of tactics to disrupt women’s employment including:

  • Using workplace resources such as phone and email to threaten, harass or abuse them;
  • Sending abusive and threatening phone calls, text messages or emails to their personal phone while at work;
  • Preventing them from going to work by locking them in, or by hiding their keys or purse;
  • Controlling their finances to prevent them from paying transport costs or tampering with their car to prevent them from going to work;
  • Following them into their workplace or waiting outside for them;
  • Isolating them from their colleagues by not allowing them to attend social events;
  • Verbal harassment, assault or threats of assault when women leave to go to work;
  • Destroying personal documents which may prevent them from applying for jobs;
  • Preventing them from attending development or training courses;
  • Sabotaging their work clothes;
  • Offering to provide childcare and not turning up;
  • Threatening to take the children if they go to work;
  • For non-English speakers, preventing them from learning English which would enable them to work; and
  • Discouraging them from applying for promotion or positions where they would become the primary earner in the household.

Domestic abuse can create significant barriers which prevent women coming to work and sustaining employment. By understanding abuse and how it impacts employees, colleagues and the wider workplace, you will be better able to develop policies and practice that can best support employees, and ensure your business is not adversely affected.

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