Employees in Knowsley have been trained to become workplace ‘Champions’ after the Council lent their support to the Police Commissioner’s scheme dedicated to breaking the cycle of domestic abuse.
Knowsley Council united with the Police Commissioner, Jane Kennedy, to host a dedicated Domestic Abuse Workplace training course for organisations across the Borough with the aim of improving awareness of domestic abuse and equipping employers with the skills to support staff at risk of abuse or violence.
The Knowsley Domestic Abuse Governance Group put forward 15 volunteers to attend the course who were trained by the Commissioner’s team to become workplace domestic abuse ‘Champions’. Organisations represented included the Council’s Safer Communities team, Family First, Adult and Children’s Social Care, Adult Day Services, Health and Safety, Business Support, Family and Community Education, as well as Change, Grow Live (Integrated Recovery Service), The First Step Refuge, ForHousing, Knowsley CRC and Probation Service.
Knowsley is the first local authority area in Merseyside to work with the Commissioner to hold a dedicated session for organisations working within the Borough.
By signing up to Police Commissioner’s free Domestic Abuse Workplace scheme, businesses are provided with an extensive domestic abuse policy, a toolkit and materials to promote the scheme within their offices and five day of free training for members of staff who volunteer to become workplace ‘Champions’.
This training equips their staff with the skills to spot the signs of possible abuse and provide advice, offer support and ensure colleagues who are at risk are directed to outreach workers or specialist support where needed. The newly-trained ‘Champions’ will join a network of volunteers across Merseyside who are enabled to spot the signs of abuse and support colleagues to get help.
Jane said: “It’s fantastic that Knowsley Council have got on board so enthusiastically with this important scheme aimed at breaking the cycle of domestic abuse and I was pleased to join forces with them to hold a dedicated training course just for businesses across the Borough.
“Domestic Abuse has a profound effect on individuals and families at home, but it also costs businesses £1.9billion every year in decreased productivity, time off work and sick pay.
“It is essential that employers recognise that for some of their staff, work may be the only safe place they have to talk about their situation, make sense of it and gather information to make an informed decision about what they want to do. That means businesses, small and large, public and private, can play a hugely important role in helping to support someone who may be suffering and potentially even help them to break free from an abusive, controlling or sometimes violent relationship.
“Employers who sign up to join the Domestic Abuse Workplace scheme are showing their commitment to the wellbeing and welfare of their staff, creating a supportive culture of understanding and raising awareness of domestic abuse. They are playing their part in tackling this pervasive and destructive crime.
“Having a safe space within work, safe domestic abuse policies and properly trained ‘Champions’ who are able to listen and provide a safe response and effective support to any employee affected by domestic abuse - whether that be a male or female victim or a perpetrator that wants to change their behaviour – organisations can make a significant difference to those employees and improve staff morale and productivity.
“I thank all the organisations who have signed up to this scheme in Knowsley – and across Merseyside – so far. By doing so, you are sending a clear message that domestic abuse is not tolerated inside or outside the workplace.
“Special thanks in particular to all our newly-trained Knowsley Champions – your willingness to give up your time to offer help and support to your colleagues in a time of need is invaluable. It could even save a life.”
Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods said: “Ensuring our communities are safer and stronger is a key priority for Knowsley Council. This scheme has been a fantastic opportunity for our local organisations and businesses to learn skills that will support our residents who may be victims/survivors of domestic abuse and help break the cycle.
“We’re delighted to be working in collaboration with the Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner to deliver this initiative and are particularly grateful for the new Knowsley Champions who have committed their time to making our borough safer.”
For more information about the Merseyside Domestic Abuse Workplace scheme, please click here.
Or for more information, please contact the Scheme Coordinator Malka Livingstone on 0151 777 5155 or by email at [email protected]