News | 14 Jan 2021

Vodafone praised by government for its efforts to combat domestic abuse

In an open letter to employers, Business Minister Paul Scully MP has called on businesses to do more to spot signs of domestic abuse among their employees and to support abuse survivors.

It’s a message that echoes Helen Lamprell’s call in 2020 for employers to be especially vigilant about domestic abuse, particularly during the pandemic, which has seen a sharp rise in the level of calls to abuse charity helplines.

The report from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) issues a rallying call to companies to improve their domestic abuse policies, their support for abuse survivors, and their knowledge of how to spot signs of abuse among employees.

A lack of awareness of warning signs, stigma around talking about domestic abuse in the workplace, and a lack of knowledge about specialist services is preventing domestic abuse survivors getting the help they need in the workplace, the report found.

But Mr Scully singled out Vodafone for praise.

“Private sector firms like Vodafone and Lloyds are already doing amazing work in this space, building domestic abuse policies for their workforce, and there is a real opportunity for more employers to follow suit,” he wrote in the letter.

And Helen, Vodafone UK’s General Counsel & External Affairs Director, was quoted in the BEIS press release, saying: “At Vodafone, we know we have a duty to help employees if they are facing domestic abuse.

“This is why we offer specialist training to HR and line managers; and our global domestic abuse policy provides support for employees affected by abuse, including counselling and additional paid leave.”

Helen flagged Vodafone Foundation’s partnership with Hestia to create the Bright Sky app, which gives those experiencing domestic abuse access to local help and information.

She also highlighted Vodafone’s domestic abuse toolkit, a resource to help other employers implement a domestic abuse policy, and its encouragement of employers to work with organisations such as Employers’ Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA).

“By sharing best practice, we will better support those suffering domestic violence,” she said.

Vodafone was also referenced in a BBC News article about Mr Scully’s open letter and the BEIS report, saying: “Firms already taking action include Vodafone, which offers specialist training to HR and line managers and support for victims including counselling and additional paid leave.”

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