Parliament must help employees suffering from domestic violence, says Harriet Harman

Katherine Johnston (29 November, 2018) Politics

A workplace can make things better - or worse

3974Camberwell and Peckham MP Harriet Harman

Camberwell and Peckham MP Harriet Harman called on the government today to adopt a charter to help support employees who are experiencing domestic violence at home.

Adopting the GMB ‘Work to Stop Domestic Abuse Employer Charter’ would mean parliament has clear procedures for supporting staff experiencing domestic violence.

According to new data from the Crime Survey for England and Wales, two million adults aged sixteen to 59 have experienced domestic abuse within the last year.

The charter outlines how important it is not to dismiss an employee’s experiences or use judgemental language such as ‘why don’t you just leave’, or ‘why haven’t you told anyone before’.

It also outlines steps that can help protect workers including making reasonable changes to working times, diverting phone calls or emails, and making use of flexible working hours so they can attend solicitor’s meetings or other appointments.

Harman, who is the longest serving MP in the House of Commons, said: “When a woman (or a man) is subjected to domestic violence, their workplace can either make things worse for them by saying that it’s a personal issue which must not be allowed to affect their work.  Or it can be a safe place to disclose and through which to find help.

“People suffering domestic abuse need to know where they can get help. Even a poster with a phone number on it can save lives.

“As a large employer of over 6,700 staff Parliament has the opportunity not only to help our individual employees when they need it most but also to be a high profile example to other employers around the country.

“That’s why we are urging the House to adopt the thorough policy developed by GMB.”

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