This month, NFDA attended the quarterly EIDA’s networking meeting at the House of Commons.
The Employers' Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA) is a network of more than 260 companies and public sector organisations who have come together, to exchange information about best practice, and to encourage, promote and develop action to help staff who are enduring domestic abuse, or who are perpetrators.
The main aims of EIDA are to:
- Help employees who are facing or have faced domestic abuse
- Teach employers/colleagues how to recognise the signs of people facing abuse
- Getting perpetrators the right help and support to stop
Attendees were welcomes by Elizabeth Filkin, CBE, Chair of EIDA who gave an update on the new branding and website for EIDA which is being launched at the end of May. EIDA has also developed a new member pack which is now live on the website.
Natalie Curtis, HSES Project Partner at Balfour Beatty shared her story of how being a victim of domestic abuse affected her social and working life. She emphasised on the help and support that Balfour Beatty gave her and worked closely with her and the police on her case. On return to work, the company arranged trauma counselling and put Natalie in touch with the Freedom Programme and Women’s Aid. She had a ‘back to work’ meeting where she was given the support on managing her workload, what to do when she felt overwhelmed or upset and flexible working.
Lucia Hayes, Head of Brand, Marketing & Communications at the Vodafone Foundation updated attendees on the new policies the company launched last month on International Women’s Day. The foundation has instated a global policy to support victim survivors of domestic violence and abuse at work which will allow 10 days of paid safe leave to victims. They also implemented a mobile phone policy for perpetrators which states anyone found to be sending threatening and abusive messages can be dismissed. They have also launched Bright Sky, a free and unique mobile app providing comprehensive support and information to people affected by domestic abuse, including a UK-wide directory of specialist support services. It is also a tool for friends, family and professionals seeking to support someone who is a victim. The app is free to download on the App Store and Google Play Store.
EIDA is also participating in a new cross-partnership programme which launches in September 2019 to give employers access to bespoke support on domestic abuse affecting their employees. This pilot programme led by charity Hestia and backed by funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, will be delivered by a consortium of organisations. Over the next two years, employers will be able to access the tools needed to strengthen their response and support prevention efforts by raising awareness in the workplace.
This will include:
- Assessment of current company policies
- Access to dedicated specialist senior advocates and counsellors
- Training for staff
- Use of an online portal that can be branded and tailored by employers
- Counselling provision - As part of the Everyone’s Business project, Woman’s Trust provides free specialist counselling (talking therapy) for female employees. They support women’s mental and emotional recovery from their experiences of domestic abuse. The project offers each employee up to 18 free counselling sessions.
- Specialist domestic abuse adviser - An in-house experienced specialist Domestic Abuse Adviser is available to support any employees who are or may be experiencing domestic abuse or violence.
- Amongst other things, the Adviser can provide confidential, practical, and impartial advice on issues relating to domestic abuse, child matters, safety, housing, legal options, the criminal justice system and court orders, and financial support.
For more information about EIDA and to become part of the initiative, visit https://eida.org.uk/