date: Tuesday 25 November 2003
embargo: immediate release
The TUC announced on White Ribbon Day (Tuesday 25 Nov), the international day for the elimination of domestic violence against women, that over the coming year 35,000 trade union reps active in workplaces across the UK will be offered training to understand and support colleagues experiencing domestic violence.
The education programme follows on from a recent TUC report Just a Domestic, which includes a survey responded to by four hundred trade union members. Half of the respondents had experienced domestic violence and had found that it affected their ability to do their job. Forty per cent of these victims had to take time off from work to deal with the effects of violence.
A third of the survey respondents who had been victims of domestic violence told their employer about it and although 70 per cent found their employer helpful the responses highlighted a patchy approach to the issue that varied according to the helpfulness of individual managers. The TUC union rep training programme on domestic violence was launched because, despite the impact of domestic violence on the well being of employees and their working life, most employers do not have a consistent policy to support employees.
The TUC survey findings were submitted to the government in response to their consultation document Safety and Justice which outlined proposals for tackling domestic violence. The TUCs report Just a Domestic? will be presented today to the Home Secretary David Blunkett MP along with copies of the training materials for trade union reps.
Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary, said:
'This is not about unions and employers intruding into the home. Domestic violence does not stay behind close doors and its devastating effects do not stop when someone enters the workplace. Unions and employers can play an important role in identifying whether a colleague is experiencing violence at home and offering support to the victim through the difficult period.'
Findings and comments from Just a domestic
51 per cent of the trade union members who responded to the TUC survey had been a victim of domestic violence, 43 per cent of these respondents said the violence had been witnessed by their children
'I work in a control room in the fire service. Sometimes I receive calls from children reporting fires in their home when the real reason they are calling is to get attention on a domestic violence incident.'
46 per cent of victims said domestic violence affected their ability to do their job due to lack of confidence, nervousness, repeated crying, lack of sleep, lack of concentration, and a loss interest in the job.
40 per cent of victims said they had taken time off work as a result of domestic violence
'I took time off work - both annual leave and sickness - to enable bruising to go away and so that no one would see the damage. Also, I didnt apply for promotion as my husband had undermined my confidence so much.'
'I resigned, as I was too ashamed to face my colleagues with my injuries.'
'I applied for a promotion and put my life into that interview, as I knew it was the only way I could move to another part of the country and escape.'
Thirty two per cent told their employers that they had experienced domestic violence, 76 per cent said their employer had been helpful, 24 per cent said they had not been. Employer support included financial help, changing work hours, emergency leave and transport to and from work. Respondents suggested more employers could do.
'The bruises and disfigurement as well as my anxiety should have prompted my manager to refer me for some support or counselling.'
'It wasnt the physical violence because bruises and cuts go over time, it was the psychological abuse which stayed with me and affected my whole life.'
Notes to Editors:
Just a Domestic? The TUCs report on the survey of members is available from the TUC press office.
Domestic violence: A guide for the workplace , a TUC guide to setting up domestic violence policies at work, aimed at employers and trade union reps, is available at: www.tuc.org.uk/publications or Tel: 0207 467 1294.
Media enquiries: Ben Hurley 020 7467 1248 or 07626 317903 (pager) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Press release (800 words) issued 25 Nov 2003
This page http://www.tuc.org.uk/equality/tuc-7345-f0.cfm
printed 22 May 2013 at 20:11 hrs by 18.104.22.168