It was just days before the coronavirus lockdown, at a local networking event where I met Lucy Whittaker, founder and lead trainer of Alpha Vesta CIC, and after listening to her journey from spending many years working as a frontline domestic abuse practitioner, partnered with her academic study and her very strong ethos that ‘we need to do more in order to reach people sooner before their lives often reach crisis point and they end up embroiled in the criminal justice system and social care arenas’, that I realised how little I knew and truly understood about domestic abuse, and especially the impact of domestic abuse within the workplace, and here is where my journey to fill that lack of knowledge started.
I never realised how incredibly complex domestic abuse is. Not all domestic abuse is characterised by patterns of coercive control, and some incidents of domestic abuse are characterised by underlying vulnerability and a toxic mix of unmet needs that occasionally spiral into some form of emotional abuse and violence.
Did you know that one in four women and one in six men will be affected by domestic abuse at some point during in their adult lifetime (HM Government, 2019) and the NSPCC have released a report this year estimating one in five children are growing up in a home where domestic abuse in occurring (NSPCC, 2020).
In a Home Office study released last year on the Social and Economic Costs of Domestic Abuse is estimated to be £66 billion per year with £14 billion of that as a direct cost to the economy in terms of lost economic output.
High absenteeism, lateness, impact on mental health and wellbeing sit very prominently but studies have also shown that one in two victims of domestic abuse said their work colleagues were also affected, and one in ten will have to leave their job due to the abuse (Opinium Research commissioned by Vodafone, 2019) and broader patterns of poor career progression (KPMG, 2019), high recruitment costs, low staff morale and productivity have also emerged.
With one third of a working adult’s life being spent in work, employers are in a unique position to create a supportive workplace with a culture that encourages all health and wellbeing needs and to help break the silence around the domestic abuse issue.
With the funding Alpha Vesta have received from the Essex Police Fire and Crime Commissioner, the Essex Community Foundation and The National Lottery, Lucy has been able to deliver fully funded online awareness sessions and training workshops to put into action Alpha Vesta’s strong foundation and mission statement of ‘Breaking the cycle of domestic abuse through awareness, prevention and early interventions in the Workplace’.
For more information about the impact of domestic abuse in the workplace, please visit www.alphavesta.com
To book on one of Alpha Vesta’s events please visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/alpha-vesta-cic-30277303852
S Potter Talent Ltd working in collaboration with Alpha Vesta CIC.
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Interested in finding out more, then please feel free to book a discovery call at: https://calendly.com/spottertalent/discovery-call