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The University is a member of the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse, a leading National charity in this field.

Domestic Abuse Support  

The University of Exeter has a longstanding commitment to promoting equality, diversity and inclusivity. We believe that the diversity of our community is an essential part of our values and enriches employment, research, studying and learning experiences. We are continuing to take active steps to develop an environment which promotes equality of opportunity and values diversity for staff and students. Everyone in the University community should be treated with dignity and respect as outlined in our Dignity and respect policy. We have developed a Positive Work Environment agenda which supports our University values, to ensure that the health and wellbeing of all staff is supported so that the University continues to be a great place to work.

A range of services have been put into place to help colleagues, this includes support in situations of domestic abuse.

The University is a member of the Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse, a leading National charity in this field.  We have worked with the EIDA on the development of this guidance and associated training for internal stakeholders and line managers. The guidance provided is considered part of Health and Safety at Work.

COVID 19 UPDATE

Due to the changes in the UK at the moment please know that we still support you. Please see the support tab below and also the external support to find updates from several organisations and how their support is changing. 

Women's aid are moving their support online during this time and further links can be found on the Women's Aid webpages.

 

The aim of the Domestic Abuse Workplace Guidance is to provide support to employees impacted by domestic abuse.  This may include people who experience abuse, people who perpetrate abuse and/or people who are friends, colleagues, family members of those impacted by abuse. 75% of people currently experiencing domestic abuse will be targeted by their abuser while in the workplace.

The University of Exeter prohibits the use of violence, threats, stalking and/or coervice control in the workplace and takes such actions very seriously. The possession of weapons in the workplace, threats, threatening or menacing behaviour, stalking, or acts of violence or verbal abuse against employees, visitors, guests or other individuals by anyone on the University of Exeter property will not be tolerated.

Any such behaviour may lead to disciplinary actions up to and including termination of employment and the involvement of appropriate law enforcement authorities as required.  Any person who makes threats, exhibits threatening behaviour, or engages in violent acts whilst employed, contracted, or volunteering at the University shall be removed from the property as quickly as safety permits and may be asked to remain away from University premises pending the outcome of an investigation into the incident. People who commit these acts outside the workplace, but which impact the workplace, are also violating this protocol and will be dealt with appropriately.  The University reserves the right to respond to any actual or perceived acts of violence in a manner we see fit according to the particular facts and circumstances and must also include advising the police.

It is important to have a clear understanding of what domestic abuse is, how this impacts the University as an employer, and the response pathways available to our colleagues.

Domestic abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender and sexuality. 

This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:

  • psychological
  • physical 
  • sexual
  • financial
  • emotional

This definition, which is not a legal definition, includes so-called ‘honour’ based violence, female genital mutilation (FGM) and forced marriage, and is clear that people who experience this abuse are not confined to one gender or ethnic group.

Controlling behaviour: a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour.

Coercive behaviour: an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim.  Coercive control is a criminal offence.

Psychological: intimidation, threats to harm, threats to kidnap children, blackmail, destruction of pets or property, mind games and stalking.

Physical: inflicting or attempting to injure, grabbing, pinching, biting, kicking, stabbing, use of weapons, withholding medications or food.

Sexual: marital rape, acquaintance rape, forced sex after physical beating, sexual assault, sexual touching, fondling, forced prostitution.  Rape is a criminal offence.

Financial: maintaining control of income, withholding money and running up debt in the victim’s name.

Emotional: undermining or attempting to undermine the victims’ sense of worth, constant criticism, name-calling, insults, put downs, silent treatment, repeatedly making and breaking promises.

Stalking: a course of conduct directed at a specific person that involves repeated (two or more occasions) visual or physical proximity, non-consensual communication, or verbal, written, or implied threats, or a combination thereof, that would cause a reasonable person fear. Stalking is a pattern of repeated and persistent unwanted behaviour that is intrusive and engenders fear, it is when one person becomes fixated or obsessed with another and the attention is unwanted. Threats might not be made but victims may still feel scared. Importantly, threats are not required for the criminal offence of stalking to be borne out. This definition includes cyber stalking. Stalking is a criminal offence.

Domestic abuse affects people regardless of gender, gender identity, sexual preference, race, ethnicity, level of education, income and/or employment.  Domestic abuse does affect more women than men; 89% of people who experience 4 or more episodes of physical violence are women.  We believe support should be available to any person affected by abuse.

This has been used with the permission of Everyone’s Business project.

The University of Exeter will make support available to members of staff who experience or witness any form of domestic abuse. The University will work to create an ethos that breaks down the barriers to seeking support, providing accredited training and access to tools and resources.  Employees have access to web pages, a workplace support assessment and guidance to ensure each person has access to support and a referral pathway. 

Initially we recommend staff disclose domestic abuse to their line managers. This allows the line manager to carry out a support assessment and support the employee to ensure risks are mitigated. The University will shortly have trained champions but the recent situation with coronavirus means that the timetable has had to be amended. In the meantime, please do contact a diversity champion along with your manager. 

Support assessment

Please bear in mind that this was written for the workplace, as the workplace is now the home, adapt this form to ensure it is relevant to you and your situation. 

The University will work with the colleague to ensure appropriate support is made available to them. The initial focus will be on completing a support assessment with your manager or other relevant staff member. The more the disclosing a colleague can be,  the more support the University can offer.

Following the support assessment being carried out, this may include, but will not be limited to utlising adjustments at work to support physical and mental wellbeing such as flexible work arrangements, IT support, time off to deal with police appointments, relocating, etc. We understand that some individuals experiencing domestic abuse may need time off to visit third parties such as banks, solicitors, schools. This can be achieved through the flexible working policies and/or the special leave policy (insert link when agreed). These must be agreed with the line manager. We will work in collaboration with the colleague to ensure a proportionate response to the level of risk.

 

Independent Domestic Violence Advisor

Where at all possible, the University will provide additional support to members of staff via a dedicated external Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA).  To access this resource please contact First Light with whom the University has worked with on the development of this guidance. Where this is not possible, we will ensure that IDVA support can be accessed via other external specialist services (see external support for more options).

Telephone counselling is available via Pro-counselling, an external, trauma-informed, specialist service provider. Follow the instructions by clicking on the read more button for 24/7 counselling. Please ensure you choose a counsellor with domestic abuse as a specialism.   

 

Confidentiality

Employees experiencing domestic abuse may feel concerned about disclosing abuse to a line manager. Managers should reassure individuals that discussions will be held in confidence, although there are some scenarios in which confidentiality may have to be broken (i.e. safeguarding of children and/or vulnerable adults, or if a serious offence has been committed). However, if you are considering breaching confidence we advise you to discuss this with a domestic violence expert first such as the Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA), contact details of which can be found in the University’s Domestic Abuse web pages. Please ensure that employees know that some details will need to be shared to encure the recommended actions from the risk assessment can be completed.

It is important for all colleagues to be aware of potential signs that a colleague is suffering from domestic abuse. On average a woman will experience 35 episodes before reporting it.  It is important to listen to a colleague when they do open up. 

Signs that someone might be experiencing domestic abuse (some of these signs may reflect a range of sensitive issues):

Work productivity signs:

  • Change in the person’s working patterns: for example, frequent absence, lateness or needing to leave work early.
  • Reduced quality and quantity of work: missing deadlines, a drop in usual performance standards.
  • Change in the use of the phone/email: for example, a large number of personal calls/texts, avoiding calls or a strong reaction to calls/texts/emails.
  • Spending an increased amount of hours at work for no reason. Changes in behaviour or demeanour
  • Conduct out of character with previous employment history.
  • Changes in behaviour: for example, becoming very quiet, anxious, frightened, tearful, aggressive, distracted, depressed etc.
  • Isolating themselves from colleagues.
  • Obsession with timekeeping.
  • Secretive regarding home life.
  • Worried about leaving children at home with abuser.

Physical signs

  • Visible bruising or single or repeated injury with unlikely explanations.
  • Change in the pattern or amount of make-up used.
  • Change in the manner of dress: for example, clothes that do not suit the climate which may be used to hide injuries.
  • Substance use/misuse.
  • Fatigue/sleep disorders.

Other signs

  • Partner or ex-partner stalking employee in or around the workplace.
  • Partner or ex-partner exerting unusual amount of control or demands over work schedule.
  • Flowers/gifts sent to employee for no apparent reason.
  • Isolation

This has been used with the permission of Everyone’s Business project.

If an employee seeks advice, ensure that you can hold the conversation in private. It is important to encourage the employee to talk and to respond sensitively. Please be aware that your response could be a crucial factor as to whether they seek further support. Be supportive and open.

Support Assessment

Please bear in mind that this was written for the workplace, as the workplace is now the home, adapt this form to ensure it is relevant to you and your situation. 

The University have developed a support assessment tool and guidance to help structure the conversation and ensure all aspects are covered. Please take the time to read this.

It is important that throughout the process you are sensitive and listen to what the employee has to say. If you need support then please contact Human Resources, Occupational Health, or Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Please ensure that the employee is aware that you are sharing information (see the confidentiality section below).

For information and advice on opening the conversation please see page 23 in the Domestic Abuse Public Health England toolkit.

Training

The University offers a domestic abuse traning workshop for managers to help support staff.

Confidentiality

Employees experiencing domestic abuse may feel concerned about disclosing abuse to a line manager. Managers should reassure individuals that discussions will be held in confidence, although there are some scenarios in which confidentiality may have to be broken (i.e. safeguarding of children and/or vulnerable adults, or if a serious offence has been committed). However, if you are considering breaching confidence we advise you to discuss this with a domestic violence expert first such as the Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA), contact details of which can be found in the University’s Domestic Abuse web pages. Please ensure that employees know that some details will need to be shared to encure the recommended actions from the risk assessment can be completed.

 

 

It is recognised that people who perpetrate domestic abuse, coercive control and/or stalking may wish to seek help voluntarily.  In these circumstances, the University will work with the member of staff to provide appropriate support and access to specialist services. This may include, but will not be limited to, utlising flexible work arrangements, making use of the Employees Assistance Programme.  Any member of staff found to be perpetrating any form of domestic abuse, violence and/or stalking, may be subject to disciplinary measures. There will be a proportionate response to the level of risk.

External Support groups/helplines

Independent Domestic Violence Advisor

Where at all possible, the University will provide additional support to members of staff via a dedicated external Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA).  To access this resource please contact First Light. Where this is not possible, we will ensure that IDVA support can be accessed via other external specialist services (see external support for more options).

Telephone counselling is available via Pro-counselling, an external, trauma-informed, specialist service provider. Follow the instructions by clicking on the read more button for 24/7 counselling. Please ensure you choose a counsellor with domestic abuse as a specialism. 

A new scheme called rail to refuge is being offered by Great Western Railway and Southeastern to allow for free rail travel to get to a refuge. 

Women's aid are moving their support online during this time and further links can be found on the Women's Aid webpages.

Cornwall

Services Description Phone  and/or Website
IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advocate) service for Cornwall is provided by First Light  Independent Domestic Violence Advocate https://www.firstlight.org.uk/
Clear Enables children and young people having experienced an abusive relationship to flourish within a therapeutic setting. https://clearsupport.net/
Domestic violence help and advice  Sanctuary Scheme is available for high risk victims of domestic abuse and/or sexual violence.

https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/domestic-violence-help-and-advice/

You can contact First Light on 0300 777 4777 during normal office hours.

Alternatively contact Cornwall Domestic Abuse 24hr Helpline on 01872 225629.

East Cornwall Women's Refuge   You can contact on 01726 871244
Galop (previously Broken Rainbow Cornwall) DV advice for Lesbian, Gay, Bi Sexual and Transgender http://www.galop.org.uk/domesticabuse/
The Women's centre Run by women, for women, we are here to provide a safe, supportive environment in which you are both valued and respected, listened to and believed: empowering you to live the life you want. https://www.womenscentrecornwall.org.uk/
West Cornwall Women's Aid

West Cornwall Women’s Aid (WCWA) has been working in the field of Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (DASV) in West Cornwall for over 30 years.

https://www.wcwaid.co.uk/
Safer Cornwall    Leaflet of support available

 Devon

Services/Company Description Phone and/or Website
Devon County Council Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse

https://www.devon.gov.uk/dsva/

Devon's domestic abuse helpline
0345 155 1074

Rape crisis helpline
0808 802 9999

IDVA (Independent Domestic Violence Advocate) is provided by Splitz  Independent Domestic Violence Advocate - For medium or high risk of domestic abuse and/or where the experience of domestic abuse is at acute or chronic levels. 

https://www.splitz.org/devon

Tel: 0345 155 1074

North Devon Against Domestic Abuse

We offer the services of an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) to support you through the criminal and civil justice system and specialist IDVA’s who work within the health arena

http://www.ndada.co.uk/

Call 01271 321 946

Victim care unit The victim care unit will help victims navigate and make informed choices about the organisation they wish to receive support from http://www.victimcaredevonandcornwall.org.uk/
 SAFE  Group Programmes  https://www.safe-services.org.uk/support-for-families-and-individual

 National 

Services/Company  Description Phone and/or Website
24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline (Freephone) A service for women experiencing domestic abuse, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf. It is run by Refuge.  Callers may first hear an answerphone message, before speaking to a person. 0808 2000 247 www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk
Men’s Advice Line (Freephone) A confidential helpline for men experiencing domestic abuse by a current or ex-partner. Caters for all men: whether in heterosexual or same-sex relationships. Offers emotional support, practical advice and information on a wide range of services for further help and support. 0808 801 0327 Days and times of phone support vary. www.mensadviceline.org.uk
Respect Phone Line (Freephone) A confidential helpline for people who are abusive and/or violent towards their current or ex-partner. Offers information and advice to support perpetrators to stop their violence and change their abusive behaviours. The main focus is to increase the safety of those experiencing domestic violence. 0808 802 4040 Days and times of phone support vary. www.respectphoneline.org.uk
National LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline Providing confidential support to all members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) communities, their family and friends, and agencies supporting them. 0300 999 5428
Karma Nirvana Helpline supports victims and survivors of forced marriage and honour based abuse 0800 599 9247 www.karmanirvana.org.uk/ 
The Man Kind Initiative Is a national charity that provides help and support for male victims of domestic abuse.  www.mankind.org.uk
Southall Black Sisters provides advice and information on domestic abuse, racial harassment, welfare and immigration, primarily for Asian, African and African-Caribbean women. www.southallblacksisters.org.uk
National Stalking Helpline provides information and guidance to anyone affected by harassment or stalking. The helpline is open 0930-1600 Monday–Friday (except Wednesday when they open at 1300). They also offer advice via email and on their Forum which can be found on our website. 0808 802 0300 advice@stalkinghelpline.org and www.stalkinghelpline.org/
Bright Sky Mobile App Hestia and the Vodafone Foundation have launched Bright Sky, a free and unique mobile app providing comprehensive support and information to people affected by domestic abuse.   The App is free to download from the App Store and Google Play Store