Merseyside’s Deputy Police Commissioner is marking her first anniversary in post by announcing plans to launch a new scheme aimed at breaking the cycle of domestic abuse with the help of employers.
The Merseyside Work Place Domestic Abuse Champions’ scheme is being developed by Cllr Emily Spurrell with the aim of encouraging businesses to provide staff with a safe working environment and appoint ‘champions’ to help colleagues who may need support. Businesses that sign up to the initiative will receive free training and toolkits to help designated staff spot the signs of possible abuse and equipping ‘champions’ with the skills to provide advice, offer support and signpost victims to outreach workers or specialist support. Employers will also be encouraged to create safe spaces where staff affected by domestic abuse can talk confidentially to the ‘champions’.
The scheme, which has already been rolled out in Northumbria with more than 1,000 people signing up to support their colleagues as Work Place 'champions' and hundreds of businesses registering, will see a part-time Project Lead based in the Police Commissioner’s office who will promote the scheme, provide training and develop a toolkit for employers to ensure they foster a culture of support and understanding within the workplace.
During her first year in post as Deputy Police Commissioner, Emily has made tackling violence against woman and girls (VAWG) a focus of her work and has joined with Liverpool City Region leaders, including Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, Merseyside Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Serena Kennedy and women’s equality campaigner Tabitha Morton to develop a region-wide strategy aimed at putting a stop to VAWG. This scheme is the latest step in working towards that goal.
Emily said: “Domestic abuse is everyone’s business and that’s why I am encouraging businesses – small and large, public and private – to sign up to join this important initiative. For some people, work may be the only safe haven they have from abuse and violence and it is vital that employers recognise and understand the hugely importance role they can have in helping someone who may be suffering in silence.
“By having a safe space within work and a properly trained ‘champion’ who is able to listen and provide the right support and guidance, that employer could help a victim to make those all important first steps in breaking the cycle of abuse.
“I know that in some organisations trade union representatives are already taking on this crucial responsibility and I want to make sure they are fully supported to be able to help victims as effectively as possible. We are still in the early stages of developing the scheme, but I would encourage businesses to register their interest ahead of the launch.
Emily, who has previously visited Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, to learn first-hand how the scheme operates in her region, added: “The police cannot tackle domestic abuse on their own. We need the support of all our partners, including businesses, if we are to put in place a coordinated, region-wide approach to supporting victims and helping them to escape abuse.
“Over the last year, I have started working on a number of important schemes which will all contribute to the mission statement I signed with other city leaders to put a stop to violence against women and girls. I am delighted that as I mark my first anniversary in post that I can announce we will be introducing this really valuable scheme to the Liverpool City Region.”
Emily was appointed by Jane Kennedy as Deputy Police Commissioner on 18th September 2017 after an open recruitment process which was scrutinised by the Police and Crime Panel.
Since taking office, she has established a region-wide strategic group focusing on sexual violence, become Chair of a partnership board aimed at implementing a female offenders’ strategy and also become Chair of Merseyside’s Modern Slavery Network. Over the course of the year, she has met with more than 2,000 people at 56 public and taken part in a number of ‘out and about’ days across Merseyside.
Emily said: “It’s been a fascinating and hugely rewarding year. I’ve enjoyed travelling across Merseyside meeting and listening to the views of a diverse range of partner organisations, voluntary groups and local communities. It’s also been really encouraging to meet the officers, PCSOs and staff of Merseyside Police who are doing a fantastic job, often in very challenging circumstances, serving the public of Merseyside and doing their best to keep our communities safe. There’s lots more to come over the course of the next year and I look forward to continuing in this work.”
Become a Work Place Domestic Abuse Champion
Role and Responsibilities:
- Act as a conduit for information between their organisation and the Champions’ Network, as necessary.
- Be a point of contact for their organisation for information relating to Domestic Abuse
- Raise awareness and enhance the overall level of knowledge of Domestic Abuse within their organisation.
- Ensure up to date and accessible information is available in relation to support services for victims.
If you are interested in joining the Work Place Domestic Violence Champion network, please email [email protected] to register your interest.