Work Place Charter on Domestic Violence

8 June, 2010

Employers across Northern Ireland are being urged to show their support for victims of domestic violence by signing up to a major new programme launched today (Tuesday 8th June) at the University of Ulster’s Jordanstown campus.
Developed by ONUS, a social economy business that gift aids its profits to Women’s Aid, the Workplace Charter on Domestic Violence provides businesses with essential advice and practical training to help and support staff suffering from domestic violence. It also enables employers to have their commitments to improving duty-of-care honoured with Gold, Silver or Bronze Charter Awards.
ONUS is a specialist training and consultancy service committed to working with employers to put necessary measures in place to ensure support for employees who are victims of abuse.
The programme has already enabled a number of launch organisations to develop an effective workplace policy for dealing with the domestic violence issue, 11 of those organisations receiving awards include: Newtownabbey Borough Council, the Northern Health and Social Care Trust and NEELB.
Speaking at the launch, Collette Stewart, Business Manager from ONUS, said:
“Domestic abuse in Northern Ireland remains a serious issue with one-in-four women and one-in-nine men likely to experience domestic violence at some point in their lives. For employers this presents a challenge as many organisations wrongly believe this is a not a workplace concern.
“We know that developing a policy can appear daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. We developed this Charter to help firms support their staff with simple steps like giving employees practical and confidential information about seeking help or exploring flexible working hours. 
Dr Fred Morrison, Director of DIVA Communication at the University of Ulster, carried out research into the business uptake of the recent “Workplace Policy on Domestic Violence and Abuse” published by DHSSPS and NIO.
He said:
“Across organisations of all sizes in Northern Ireland there remains a common misconception that domestic violence is simply not a workplace concern. Many business managers recognise their employees as key assets. Yet few realise that by improving duty of care, employers can not only change a person’s living quality but also improve their productivity, reduce workplace accidents and increase gains to the business.
“The Workplace Charter on Domestic Violence is a simple and cost-effective method for employers to come on board and enhance their safe-workplace practices.”
For further information on how to tackle this workplace issue, please visit or contact 028 2563 2136.
Notes to the editor;
1.      ONUS (NI) is a wholly owned social enterprise and subsidiary of Women’s Aid. They provide training courses, advice and consultancy services to organisations in the statutory, voluntary and private sectors on issues related to domestic violence.
2.      Firms with Gold Charter Award status include:  Northern Health Social Care Trust, Newtownabbey Borough Council and Triangle Housing Association Ltd
3.      Firms with Silver Charter Award status include: David Ford Constituency Office, NEELB Headquarters and Armstrong Solicitors
4.      Firms with Bronze Charter Award status include: Ollar Hair (BallyClare), Joli Clothing (Ballyclare), Craigs Hardware (Ballyclare), Armour Beauticians (Newtownabbey) and Jacqui Neill Photography (Ballyclare).
5.      Domestic Violence Statistics – source – supplied by Women’s Aid.