Domestic violence – information for employers

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Employers must address domestic violence.

Research has shown that:

  • One in ten[i]people who has experienced domestic violence has been forced to take time off work because of the effects of the abuse
  • Twenty percent of those have been absent for more than a month.[ii]
  • In 2009, domestic violence cost UK businesses £1.9 billion in lost economic output caused by physical injuries alone.[iii]

However, research has also shown that more than one in ten victims of domestic violence chooses to confide in a manager or colleague[iv].


A Refuge service user receiving support

Fiona Bowman is a survivor of domestic violence, who thanks to her previous line manager was able to escape domestic violence.  She says:

“When I was experiencing domestic violence, my job at a bank was the only place I had to escape the constant terror of my home life.  It was the only place I could be myself and regain some sense of normality.  But for me, my work was not just my sanctuary – it ended up being my salvation.

“After a particularly awful attack, my boss came to see me in hospital.  When he saw my bruised and swollen face he realised straight away what had happened to me.  He had the amazing foresight to recognise the danger I was in and did absolutely everything in his power to help me.  He was managed to get me a new job in another branch of the bank, hundreds of miles away, and helped me to move away.  It’s no exaggeration to say that his support saved my life.  I had no-one else to turn to and, if he hadn’t acted to help me, I genuinely believe I might be here today.  Since I escaped I have been able to build a very successful career for myself.  I can’t express how grateful I am for the chance that manager gave me to achieve the life I have now.”

In 2010 Refuge and Respect created a Domestic Violence Resource Manual for employers (funded by the Nationwide Foundation).  Whilst this product was created some time ago it contains much information which is still relevant today.  If you would like to receive a copy please email

[i] Roe, 2010

[ii] Roe, 2010

[iii] Walby, 2009

[iv] Roe, 2010