The number of union reps that attended a late evening meeting on Wednesday 24th October showed that the issue of domestic violence is very much a priority for trade unions. Reps from the POA, PCS, Unison, CWU, Community and the GMB were able to share their experiences in dealing with domestic violence in the workplace and discuss the legal rights of the victims and their families with Emma Hopkins and Melanie Webb of Simpson Millar Solicitors. Vera Baird, Labour PCC Candidate for Northumbria also spoke at the event and was asked what she would do, if elected, to improve the woefully low number of perpetrators prosecuted for such brutal offences.
It is well documented that women are in the majority when it comes to the crime of domestic violence. What is less well known or publicised is that 1 in 6 men in the UK and over 750,000 children in the UK will be affected by domestic abuse and violence. As well as the cost in human terms, domestic violence costs the UK economy £1.9 billion per annum. Domestic abuse affects employers who have to deal with abused employees being absent from work or arriving late. There is also the problem of disruption in the workplace as violence abuse victims are often targeted at work - ranging from harassing phone calls / texts / emails to abusive partners arriving at the workplace. Remedies and support is available to women affected by domestic abuse including police prosecution; injunction - none Molestation or Occupation Order; welfare benefits entitlement; and help to ensure any children are safe and properly protected. The meeting discussed what options and resources are available and what union reps can do in identifying and tackling domestic abuse in the workplace. It was recognised that reps are uniquely placed to negotiate specific domestic abuse policies with the employer and suggest practical measures to safeguard the welfare of employees.
A copy of Simpson Millar's presentation can be downloaded here http://www.tuc.org.uk/tucfiles/418/Domestic Violence 24 Oct 2012.ppt
'Remember to use your vote on the 15th November' was the first message from Vera Baird, Labour PCC Candidate for Northumbria before she went on to describe the role of the Police and Crime Commissioner. One of the main reasons she is standing as a candidate is to ensure that Violence Against Women Services are safeguarded. The primary task of the PCC is to consult with the public, bringing the police and public together. The PCC has responsibility for the budget and for developing a five year police and crime plan to be delivered by the Chief Constable.
All Labour Candidates are committed to five pledges, briefly they are to:
Develop and roll out an integrated local action plan to tackle violence against women and girls.
Tackle the culture of violence against women and girls, working with schools local authorities and community-based organisations to change attitudes and behaviour
Maintain specialist domestic violence and public protection units within the police service
Deliver specialist training in domestic and sexual violence
Pilot a preventative policing project (in Northumbria) - to promote the active monitoring and management of serial perpetrators of domestic and sexual violence.
Vera finished by saying the wellbeing of victims is vital. Domestic violence is a crime and should be dealt with as such.
The Chair, Ruth Berkley (Regional Women's Office for Unison), thanked all speakers and contributors to the debate and asked those present to spread the word about the fourth Reclaim the Night event which takes place in Sunderland on Saturday 24th November. Further details are available on the Northern TUC website www.tuc.org.uk/northern.
Briefing document (700 words) issued 26 Oct 2012
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/equality/tuc-21572-f0.cfm
printed 19 June 2013 at 00:10 hrs by 220.127.116.11