Domestic abuse can destroy lives, leaving physical and emotional scars. Those experiencing domestic abuse can find themselves isolated from friends and family and lose their independence. It can take many forms, not just physical abuse. It can also include, but is not limited to, financial, emotional and psychological abuse, as well as coercive control. 

Domestic abuse has an impact at work. Research shows that a high proportion of those enduring domestic abuse are targeted at work. Domestic abuse can negatively affect those abused as well as their workplace colleagues. However, importantly, the workplace can often be one of the few places that a person experiencing abuse can be separate from their abuser and experience some independence. This means that work can be the place where people can ask for and access support, and feel safe to speak about their experience. 

It’s essential that employers are knowledgeable about domestic abuse as they are ideally placed to offer key support. The aim of this guidance is to encourage more employers to take an active supporting role. 


Why act now on domestic abuse?

Why is domestic abuse a workplace issue?

Developing an effective framework around domestic abuse support

Here we suggest a framework of support consisting of four key steps. Under each step of the framework we propose some actions employers can take to manage domestic abuse in the workplace, with benefits for both employees and employers. In many cases the support needed is about being aware, offering flexibility and signposting to the organisations that provide specialist support. Large budgets aren’t required, so even with limited resources there are steps that small business owners can take to support their staff.

The role of HR, people managers and employees

It’s important to outline people’s different roles and responsibilities in relation to supporting employees experiencing domestic abuse. This will mean that everyone is clear on how they can provide support. 

There are many legal duties that must be taken into account surrounding an employee who has perpetrated domestic abuse as well as the survivors of it. In addition, some aspects of the law affecting employees convicted of domestic abuse offences and provisions protecting the survivors are currently changing.

What should a domestic abuse policy contain?

Below are key areas that can be included within a domestic abuse workplace policy. It is important that all organisations develop their own workplace policy to reflect the needs of their employees.

Signposting to supportive services, charities and organisations

Further resources and guidance for employers


More on this topic

Menstrual health is a workplace issue

Join our webinar to explore how you can normalise conversations about menstruation and menstrual health in the workplace to better support women at work.

Thought leadership
Improving mental health and wellbeing through collaboration with OH

Research from the Society of Occupational Health and CIPD explores the evidence

Latest guides

Menstruation and menstrual health in the workplace

Practical advice to help employers provide support around menstruation and menstrual health in the workplace

People manager guide: Managing a return to work after long-term absence

Practical guidance to effectively manage and support an employee’s return to work after long-term sickness absence

Managing a return to work after long-term absence: Guidance for people professionals

Practical guidance to effectively oversee and support an employee’s return to work after long-term sickness absence

ERGs and staff networks: How to set up and run business groups

A practical look at supporting employee resource groups (ERGs) and staff networks

All guides