This is a workplace scheme where we provide training to your small business, increasing understanding of the impact of abuse in your workplace, empowering workplace Champions to have the confidence to ask whether someone is OK, and giving them the skills and understanding to know how to respond and where to refer. The pillars of the scheme, and all the other work we do, is C.O.P.E: Caring, Offering Protection, Education. The C.O.P.E “Ask & Act” campaign seeks to increase the understanding of domestic abuse and encourage violence free families and violence-free workplaces.
Violence from partners is the cause of more ill-health and premature death for women ages 15 – 44 than any other well-known risk factors, including high blood pressure, obesity and smoking. The scale of the problem in relation to business is shown by the fact that domestic abuse costs the English and Welsh economy £66 billion, annually – the costs to the IoM business community will be commensurate.
By enrolling in Ask & Act, not only will you save in direct costs due to employee absence etc, you reduce risk to yourself and others in the workplace and you demonstrate that you are a Sociably Responsible employer and a supportive place to work. Employees who feel supportive, secure and safe at work are more productive and more loyal. In short, Ask and Act makes good business sense.
Businesses have mandatory training in other aspects of safety – Fire, COSHH, H&S etc, yet the likelihood/risk of Domestic Abuse is much higher than any of these, and potentially at least as costly. We believe that responsible employers should also have DA training as standard.
“Ask & Act” is based on similar workplace schemes that have proved very successful in other Jurisdictions – for example: J9 (England), It’s not OK, But it is OK to Ask for Help (New Zealand) and Cut it Out (USA). We know it works because it is a tried and tested model. There has never before been such a scheme on the IoM.
We teach the 3 R’s:
Recognise – know the warning signs of abuse, understand that it is not the victim’s fault
Respond – listen and support
Refer – help obtain appropriate support at work; refer to external services
Ask & Act – because asking can be all it takes to keep someone safe.
Why be a C.O.P.E. employer?
Doing something about family violence in your workplace acknowledges that what happens at home can impact at work.
Domestic abuse costs you in terms of sickness absence, lowered productivity, lowered morale; lowered profits. It can put your staff, their colleagues and your customers at risk.
There are many things you can do to help prevent family violence. Most actions are relatively simple and send powerful messages to employees, their families, business partners and the community as a whole.
You can choose the level of your involvement – from simply raising understanding to supporting local support services, training staff or implementing policies.
On average in the UK people endure family violence for 2.7 years before asking for help; data from the IoM (2018-19) found that victims here endure 4.5 years before disclosure. Previous research suggested victims are assaulted an average of 35 times before they seek help. Latest research (2018) suggests this is closer to 50 times.
While over 80% of Domestic Abuse victims tell someone, only 21% told the police. (Crime Survey England 7 Wales, 2017). For this reason, there needs to be safe opportunities to disclose in other settings. Statistically most victims tell their sisters, their friends, or their work colleagues. On average victims have to ask for help 9 times before they receive the support they need. Don’t let your workplace be like that!
What you do makes a difference:
Businesses and organisations can take a lead in bringing about safer communities through workplace action.
Showing that your business supports violence-free families and violence-free workplaces sends a positive message to clients, staff and the community.
Workplaces can also play an important role in assisting victims of violence – the workplace is one place where victims of family abuse can safely access information and support. This is particularly true of small businesses such as hairdressers, pharmacies, dental clinics; corner shops.
Workplaces don’t have to solve the problem – people just need to know how to recognise abuse and how to link in with the specialist services that can help.
Taking workplace action doesn’t have to be costly, but it can save you money in the long-run by contributing to happier, safer, and more productive staff.
NOT taking action will be costly.