Domestic Abuse Support Assessment

The Domestic Abuse Support Assessment is a framework that managers can use to support employees impacted by domestic abuse.  

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. 

This guidance has been produced for University of Exeter managers with the aim of giving guidance to successfully support employees experiencing domestic abuse, harassment or stalking.

The aims of the assessment are:

  • To provide a safe and supportive work environment
  • Provide a quiet, supportive forum for employees to feel able to speak openly and in confidence about their situation
  • To provide a structure to the conversation to ensure that all aspects are considered
  • To identify support available at the University and to implement that support

It would be appropriate to undertake this assessment for anyone who has disclosed they are experiencing domestic abuse, harassment or stalking.

To prepare for an assessment, managers should consider the following:

  • Agree a suitable venue and time with the employee
  • Agree who will be there. It is not appropriate to have multiple people in the room, but the employee can be supported by a friend or colleague. The employee should be able to feel comfortable to be open about issues they are facing
  • Be prepared
  • Prepare the environment. Switch off phones and emails and ensure you are not going to be disturbed by anyone else. Try to arrange furniture to ensure it is a supportive space and not feeling like an interview room
  • Prepare yourself. You need to feel calm and ready to support the employee. It may be a good idea to try and keep your diary free for a couple of hours- it may take longer than you expect and it wouldn’t be appropriate to have to leave mid-way through the assessment

You will need a blank Domestic Abuse Support Assessment and will complete the assessment. if you prefer to have these web pages in print form you can download the Guidance for Managers on DA Support Assessment.

At the beginning of the meeting you should:

  • Set out the process that you are going to be taking the employee through (i.e. show them the assessment and explain how it is used)
  •  Explain the aims of the process and that you would like to try and identify issues and establish how the University may provide support
  • Ask the employee to be as open as they feel able. Suggest that you can stop at any time if things become too difficult
  • Explain that you anticipate it will take an hour, but you have plenty of time so no need to watch the clock
  • Consider referring/using other HR policies and procedures which may be appropriate (e.g. compassionate leave policy, sickness absence policy, emergency leave policy, capability/performance procedures)

You should listen carefully and above all, believe the employee when they disclose issues they may be experiencing. Reassure the employee that the organisation has an understanding of how domestic abuse may be impacting them at work and what can be done about this.

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 circumstances in which it may not be appropriate for confidentiality to be maintained (i.e. safeguarding of children and/or vulnerable adults, or if a serious offence has been committed). However, if you are concerned 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.

  • Do not be judgmental and make comments i.e. about the perpetrator’s behaviour or the employee’s response
  • Do not give advice to the employee – for example do not pressurise them into leaving
  • Do not dismiss issues

At the end of the assessment, summarise the steps that you will now take to support the employee.

If you are not sure how something can / should be taken forward, commit to finding out and add this to the action plan. Support can be sought from your manager, HR, Occupational Health or specialist services such as the Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) - full list of support services can be found at the end of this document.

Set a date for reviewing the support put in place, consider repeating the assessment if the situation has changed. This process can be reviewed as periodically while the situation is ongoing.