Why Domestic Abuse Is Everyone’s Business

Domestic abuse is everyone’s business because even just ‘one’ perpetrator abusing one partner, who may have children, who may work, this then affects everyone that person is connected to.  It becomes a ripple effect that seeps out into the extended family and friends, it impacts into the community, into the children’s school, affects their ability to learn, to make friends and eventually establish healthy relationships themselves. It follows a person into the workplace and impacts on colleagues and the business they work for.  The impact is huge as currently 2.4m people are affected by domestic abuse every year, equating to 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men (ONS). This is not the fault of the victim, it is the level of power and control that just ‘one’ perpetrator has over their partner and how that behaviour can insinuate into society.  The perpetrator can do this as they are relying on us not knowing what they’re doing, not acting and not talking about it.  Society has been under an unspoken rule of not talking about it for too long.  A perpetrator tactic is to keep this a secret and to use threats to do so as secrecy protects the perpetrator.  By raising awareness and making domestic abuse everyone’s business, we are making a difference.

This year, due to the pandemic and lockdown measures, national and local domestic abuse organisations have reported a huge increase in calls to helplines and need for domestic abuse support.  This increase has contributed towards a greater awareness of the prevalence of domestic abuse, which has shocked the nation – but not those who work within the field of domestic abuse.  Sadly, we are already aware of the ‘shadow pandemic’ that happens behind closed doors.  What we need now is to involve everyone in understanding domestic abuse and educate the public on how to reach out and help our friend, family member or work colleague who may be trapped within an abusive relationship.

This includes employers who are key in spotting the signs of domestic abuse but don’t know how to appropriately support their employees. A recent report states that 86% of employers agree to having a duty of care for employees experiencing domestic abuse but sadly fewer than 1 in 3 victims of abuse disclose at work (PHE). For the employee, the workplace can offer an escape but due to the pandemic and lockdown many employees have had to work from home, which has increased the risk of suffering domestic abuse.

As an employer, what can you do to support your employee? The three main actions are: Recognise, Respond and Refer

RECOGNISE – the signs in the workplace

  • A noticeable change in behaviour/appearance
  • A gut feeling that something is not right
  • Work times change i.e. arriving too early or being late
  • A reluctance to leave work
  • Suffering from anxiety/panic attacks
  • Constant phone calls/text messages/emails at work
  • A lack of money for lunch or travel
  • Lack of productivity/missing deadlines
  • Increased absences from work
  • Increased appointments to attend
  • Partner contacts colleagues to find out information

RECOGNISE – the signs working from home

  • Lack of productivity
  • Nervous, increased anxiety
  • Reluctant to talk and generally not being themselves
  • Unexplained sickness
  • Not attending Zoom meetings or answering calls

Perpetrators will use coercive controlling tactics to prevent their partner from working from home, by insisting they take on the childcare, housekeeping and/or home teaching duties. There have been increased reports of coercive control and financial abuse since lockdown began. Perpetrators have even used Covid lockdown measures as a form of coercive control. 


  • Keep in touch regularly – introduce code words when making contact
  • Ask after their well-being, giving them the opportunity to disclose
  • Always assume the perpetrator is in the room with them, listening to the conversation or zoom meeting
  • Keep the communication generic
  • Provide the opportunity for the employee to disclose
  • Believe what is said
  • Be non-judgemental
  • Engage with training on understanding domestic abuse

There is a need for employers to identify the barriers to disclosing in their workplace – which often means changing the workplace culture. How can you communicate to your employees that your company is sympathetic to those who may suffering abuse? 

Implement a domestic abuse policy or incorporate domestic abuse into existing policies.  In this way staff learn that the company is sympathetic to domestic abuse disclosures, which encourages trust and disclosure and supports culture change within a workplace. Within these policies or a generic email highlight the changes to policies and include the instructions on how to download Hestia’s Bright Sky app.

REFER – To national and local domestic abuse support services – you can download a pdf from my website www.safespaceconsultancy.org

Many firms are now leading the way to provide paid leave for staff, provision of emergency accommodation and financial support.  Large national retail businesses such as Boots and Superdrug are opening up their ‘Safe Spaces’ consultation rooms to support victims of domestic abuse.  A new code word scheme is being rolled out to supermarkets and high street retailers through the UK Says NO More campaign. National and regional rail companies are offering free fares for individuals and families travelling to safe houses and refuges. 

Whilst all of this is excellent news, it is not just the large national organisations that need to be prepared to recognise domestic abuse and support their staff, this has to happen at every level, through local businesses as well if we are to really make a stand against ending domestic abuse.

Employer Awareness: Understanding Economic Abuse

2019 has seen the introduction of the new draft Domestic Abuse Bill and with its inclusion in the Queens Speech this year, has now received its second hearing to pass through parliament. As part of the new Bill, Economic Abuse will be included within the legal definition.

What is Economic Abuse and why is it different to Financial Abuse?
The legal definition of Economic Abuse as described by the Home Office is: economic abuse involves behaviours that interfere with an individual’s ability to acquire, use and maintain economic resources such as money, transportation and utilities.” Economic abuse has a much broader and often longer-term financial impact on a victim of abuse, often for many years after leaving the relationship.

The largest study of economical abuse to date has been carried out by Sharp-Jeffs with the Co-operative Bank and Refuge which found

  • One in five people in the UK have experienced financial abuse in an intimate relationship
  • 60% of all cases are reported by women
  • 78% of women saying their abuse went on over five years compared to 23% of men
  • For women, financial abuse rarely happens in isolation – 86% experience other forms of abuse
  • A third of financial abuse victims suffer in silence, telling no-one

Financial abuse includes a perpetrator taking control of bank accounts and ensuring their partner has no access, giving their partner just a small token amount of money each week for housekeeping, children’s clothes, toiletries etc. but never enough to fully cover these expenses. The perpetrator will often display double standards by going out and socialising regularly and embark on lavish spending sprees (on themselves), neglecting the family’s needs whilst doing so.  Economic abuse goes much further than this, such as taking out loans, mortgages, household bills in their partner’s name, making financial decisions alone and keeping financial information secret.  More than this a perpetrator will use ‘interference tactics’ to prevent their partner from going to work (or places of study) or giving up their job altogether.  The purpose of this behaviour is to entrap and isolate the victim as soon as possible so they become solely and financially dependent on the abusive partner.

Economic abuse is often the first sign of Coercive Control  within a relationship.  A perpetrator knows if you restrict and then take away access to money and financial independence from their partner, they quickly become dis-empowered, have less choices and opportunities to leave the abusive relationship.

Economic abuse can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, culture, social or employment circumstances and when it happens can have a long-lasting devastating impact on the victim of abuse.  Even if a person can leave the relationship, they will likely have a mountain of debts often in the region of thousands of pounds all under their name (which the perpetrator has ensured), a destroyed credit history and having to start again from nothing.  This situation is soul destroying and often takes many years to recover from.  With the introduction of Economic Abuse into the new Bill, at last this situation is beginning to be understood and sources of support for victims being identified.

How can you, as an employer, identify if a staff member needs support in this area?  Firstly, how can you encourage your staff to disclose if they are experiencing financial difficulties? After all, money is often a hidden subject and rarely spoken about.  Identify the barriers to disclosing within your organisation then take steps to remove these barriers.  Show your staff you are sympathetic towards these issues and can support them by providing practical support such as helping them to set up an escape fund.

Signs of an employee experiencing financial or economic abuse:-

  • Often doesn’t have lunch or travel money
  • No longer joins in on social events at or after work
  • Not having debit or credit cards, cannot access their bank accounts
  • Unable to explain their lack of access to money
  • Changes in appearance
  • Becoming withdrawn or seeming depressed or anxious

By engaging with awareness and training on the Impact of Domestic Abuse in the Workplace, you will have an in-depth understanding of these issues and be in a stronger position to support your staff safely and appropriately.

Further sources of support: Founder: Dr Nicola Sharps-Jeff  https://survivingeconomicabuse.org/

Enhancing clients digital footprints

Irwin Edgehill Training has been supporting individuals and teams for over a decade.  Founded by Irwin Edgehill, a Bournemouth based trainer and personal development coach, they have helped hundreds of people build their confidence and resilience empowering them to transform their personal & professional lives.

Irwin Edgehill Training approached the team at e-nexus to help them develop their marketing. They wanted to work with an agency that could help them enhance their profile and reach new customers.  Building on their existing marketing efforts, our initial phase of activity was focused on enhancing their digital footprint to make it easier for potential clients to find them and ensure there is a consistent narrative.  To date we have:

  • Built a new company website (irwinedgehilltraining.com) focusing on content, design and SEO
  • Set up new social media channels and refreshed existing ones
  • Written & posted content for the company’s new Blog and social media channels based on our Social Media Management programme
  • Updated and supplied content to business referral sites
  • Grown social media followers, blog followers and engagement with followers
  • Identified, joined & engaged with other social media communities

Irwin Edgehill Training’s feedback on what we have delivered to date has been: “The best things come to those who wait. Having finally attracted the right company to market my business, I am infinitely pleased that Richard is now helping me move my business to the next level. A straight up guy who professionally delivers on everything he creates, the feedback I have and continue to receive from others on the work e-nexus has produced is fantastic. A very good professional and a nice man, highly recommended.”

Interested in discussing with e-nexus how we can support your marketing needs then email: info@e-nexus.co.uk or call Richard Milton on 07535 612652

Enhancing Signs Express Bournemouth Social Media presence

Signs Express Bournemouth are sign makers and vehicle graphics specialists in Bournemouth. They asked us at e-nexus to help them review their approach to their social media management and recommend how it could be enhanced to boost the profile and reach of the business.

Our approach with Signs Express Bournemouth was to run a bespoke enhancement workshop for them based on preliminary investigative work we did for the business that also included developing for them a structured social media schedule activity planner.  Our focus for the preliminary investigative work included:

1. Reviewing their existing channels including their existing content posting schedule
2. Identifying other social media groups, pages or communities where they could post content
3. Pulling together some examples of best practice that could enhance their social media efforts

The social media enhancement workshop itself was split into three sections and covered:

1. Findings from our preliminary investigative work
2. Sharing successful examples from our own social media work
3. Reviewing, populating & finalising the social media schedule planner designed for Signs Express Bournemouth

Feedback from the team at Signs Express Bournemouth was: “Richard is an inspiring digital professional who always shows a genuine interest in your business and is simply a pleasure to work with. He is able to quickly understand your business model and goals to bring a range of marketing solutions to the table. Once upon a time digital marketing was overwhelming and something to be feared. Since working with Richard this is a thing of the past, he has implemented continuity across our platforms, developed a stress-free structure that’s works so well for us and offers a fantastic continuous level of support when you need it. Highly recommend!”

Interested in reviewing your approach to your social media management contact e-nexus by emailing:  info@e-nexus.co.uk or calling 07535 612652