Support for Victims of Domestic Abuse

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – in the House of Commons on 9th February 2021.

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Photo of Pauline Latham Pauline Latham Conservative, Mid Derbyshire

What steps his Department is taking to help businesses support victims of domestic abuse.

Photo of Imran Ahmad Khan Imran Ahmad Khan Conservative, Wakefield

What steps his Department is taking to help businesses support victims of domestic abuse.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

Our recent report on workplace support is clear that employers’ policies can play a significant role in helping victims of domestic abuse. We will work with employers to support that role and encourage good practice, which includes employers signing up to the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse and managers downloading the Bright Sky app by Hestia.

Photo of Pauline Latham Pauline Latham Conservative, Mid Derbyshire

Domestic abuse is a heinous crime that destroys lives and families, and it is vital that every part of society works together to prevent it from happening. Will my hon. Friend confirm that his Department is working with businesses to help to build their awareness of domestic abuse and ensure that they notice the warning signs and help workers to access the support that they may need?

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

My hon. Friend has been a huge champion of tackling abuse, both here in this country and internationally. As set out in our recent report on workplace support, we will work across Government to raise awareness with businesses and victims’ representatives. From a business point of view, it tackles the £1.9 billion productivity stretch, and employers have a duty of care, just as with bullying, stress and mental health. Clearly, wider awareness can save lives.

Photo of Imran Ahmad Khan Imran Ahmad Khan Conservative, Wakefield

Several organisations in Wakefield, including Penny Appeal, have joined the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse, which empowers businesses to take positive action for their employees affected by domestic abuse. This is a crucial step in providing support at a time when the levels of domestic abuse have sadly risen. Will my hon. Friend kindly outline what additional steps his Department is taking to help businesses supporting victims of domestic abuse?

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

The Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse has 500 members so far signed up to it, covering 6 million employees. What we can do is work with other colleagues across the House to make sure that we get more signatories to the initiative and more support for employers, as well as employees, and that we can signpost the support where appropriate.