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Overcoming domestic violence through help from work

09 October 2013

Overcoming domestic violence through help from work

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Domestic abuse is an unseen issue that employers could help tackle. One woman explains how a work scheme supported her.

Barbara (not her real name) is a director of a major UK company. When her firm became a member of the Corporate Alliance Against Domestic Violence (CAADV), the support it provided didn't seem relevant to her. But as her marriage started to deteriorate, it became a lifesaver. This is her story:

Only a year after my workforce started a programme with CAADV, the situation in my home life escalated very rapidly and I realised this is happening to me! My husband was an alcoholic and I had endured years of controlling behaviour, emotional and verbal abuse, and I was very concerned that it was soon going to get physical – his behaviour was getting very erratic and he had started throwing objects. It is no exaggeration to say that I was scared he might kill me in one of his rages, and I was also very scared for my children.

It certainly affected my productivity at work. There were days and days when all I could do in the office was just turn up and breathe. I couldn't focus on anything because I was enduring some really traumatic stuff. When I approached my boss to say I needed time and help, he was immediately supportive and I received safety planning which involved going to the police near to my work (there's no way I could have gone to the police local to my home, because my husband would become suspicious as to where I was). The police ran a risk assessment asking about his behaviour patterns, then they sat down with me and planned out the scenario because I knew I would have to leave him and that could be the trigger that made him violent.

For full story please visit: The Guardian