If you’re worried about someone you care about (a friend, family member, loved one or colleague) learn more about how you can support them by creating a supportive conversation:

  • Listen and offer sensitive, non-judgemental support
  • Acknowledge it takes strength to talk to someone about experiences of abuse
  • Tell them that nobody deserves to be treated that way
  • Avoid asking why they haven't left the relationship (statistics show that there is a rise in the likelihood of violence after leaving an abusive relationship, click here for more information on this)
  • Treat disclosures of domestic violence as confidential
  • If there are any immediate safety concerns call 999 or security
  • Help arrange further support (e.g. Independent Domestic Violence Advisor, Staff Counselling, Employee Assistance Programme)
  • Consider additional care when both victim and perpetrator work at the same organisation

The workplace can often be a lifeline for survivors of domestic violence as it offers an opportunity to seek help, and colleagues are well placed to spot the following signs:

Changes in work productivity
  • Missing deadlines
  • Reduced quality and quantity of work
  • Frequent absences or lateness
Behaviour changes
  • Becoming quiet, anxious, frightful, tearful, aggressive, distracted
  • Withdrawing from support
Physical changes
  • Visible bruising or single or repeated injury
  • Wearing unsuitable clothing e.g. big jumpers on a hot day
  • Substance use/misuse
Other signs
  • Partner or ex-partner showing up around the workplace
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Unexpected gifts arriving at the workplace

The Department of Health have created a useful guide on how to respond to colleagues experiencing domestic abuse.