Employers Against Abuse In partnership with the Home Office, The Survivors Trust has created a free, specialist training programme for employers in England and Wales that aims to create supportive and empowering workplaces for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence. 1 in 4 women experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. 1 in 6 men experience domestic abuse in their lifetime. Over 23% of adults have experienced rape or sexual abuse. Within your organisation it’s likely there are employees who have experienced, or are experiencing, some form of domestic abuse or sexual violence outside of work. The trauma caused by domestic abuse and sexual violence can have significant and long-term effects on anyone who experiences it. Regardless of where the abuse occurred, or when, this can impact all areas of the victim’s life, including their employment. What does this mean for you as an employer? You might notice: Decreased work performance Increased absenteeism Demotivated staff Lowered morale across the team Most people who experience domestic abuse or sexual violence will not disclose what is happening to them. They may fear they won’t be believed, or that they are somehow to blame. Most survivors are keen to continue in work (for many, it is a “safe haven”) but find it increasingly difficult due to the trauma they are experiencing. As an employer, you can make a crucial difference to how your employees cope and recover from these issues. Creating a safe and supportive workplace is something that all employers can do, regardless of the nature or size of your organisation. What a supportive workplace looks like: Increased awareness of domestic abuse and sexual violence for the whole workforce Key staff understand trauma and its effects. Clear, accessible information for victims/survivors Signposting to specialist support services Sensitive handling of disclosures Strong relationships with external support organisations Support Ambassadors Effective change must come from within. Employees taking part in the training will become Support Ambassadors to raise awareness and implement change within their organisation. These Ambassadors will receive specialist training and ongoing support from us as part of their role and will become part of our community of Support Ambassadors across England and Wales. Ambassadors will not be working in isolation but will be responsible for disseminating information and increasing awareness within the workplace. A key part of their role will be spreading awareness and cascading their training to their colleagues. They'll also provide signposting to appropriate services within the local community so survivors can access the specialist support they need. Commitment Your nominated Support Ambassadors will attend 2 x 3-hour online training sessions, which are CPD-accredited. This will be followed by a support session approximately 6 weeks after their training. Ambassadors will have ongoing access to resources and support, including group chat, online seminars, and the chance to ask questions and raise issues with both us and their fellow Ambassadors. We suggest that you nominate a minimum of two Ambassadors. This will help them to support one another and to implement changes more effectively in the workplace. It will also help to ensure that at least one Ambassador is present if others are away from work. The Ambassadors will need time to attend our training and, to raise awareness with their colleagues. This could include sharing resources, signposting to local services and sharing effective template policies and procedures addressing trauma and abuse. This will be an ongoing commitment which will need support and encouragement from their manager and the company as a whole. Impacts: Increased knowledge and recognition of trauma Confidence in responding well to victims/survivors Strengthened policies and procedures for supporting survivors Improved staff wellbeing Staff empowered to access support Staff enabled to remain in work Enhanced team communication and cohesion Enhanced reputation as an employer Stronger links with community groups Register Interested in the free, specialist training? Please click the links below to register for your preferred date and time: 2023: 14th December 10:00-13:00 and 18th December 14:00-17:00 One space remaining 2024: 15th January 10:00-13:00 and 22nd January 10:00-13:00 22nd January 14:00-17:00 and 29th January 10:00-13:00 29th January 14:00-17:00 and 5th February 10:00-13:00 5th February 14:00-17:00 and 6th February 10:00-13:00 6th February 14:00-17:00 and 7th February 10:00-13:00 14th February 10:00-13:00 and 20th February 10:00-13:00 26th February 10:00-13:00 and 4th March 10:00-13:00 26th February 13:00-17:00 and 4th March 14:00 5th March 10:00-13:00 and 11th March 10:00-13:00 FAQ: Will the Support Ambassadors be expected to deliver counselling or other interventions? No. Ambassadors will receive training in responding to an initial disclosure of abuse, which is key to helping a survivor feel believed and supported. Their focus will be on providing that survivor with information about their options. This includes signposting to specialist support agencies. There is no issue with abuse in my workplace; why do I need this? This training focusses on sexual abuse and domestic violence outside the workplace. Most commonly, this will be at home, but it could take place anywhere, including online. Unfortunately, due to its prevalence, it’s likely that you do have employees with experience of abuse, whether they are experiencing it now or in the past. What sort of person would make a good Support Ambassador? An Ambassador can be someone from any role or grade who is keen to support their colleagues. The role requires an ongoing commitment and a willingness to reflect on and improve workplace practices. The Ambassador will need to be non-judgmental, a good listener, and willing to respect confidentiality. They’ll need to know the boundaries of their role and be ready to ask for help when needed. Because both the training and the role itself involve discussion of domestic abuse and sexual violence, this role might not be suitable for everyone, and we would advise against nominating anyone who does not willingly volunteer for the role. Anyone known or suspected perpetrator of abuse would not be suitable for this role. We already have a wellbeing champion / mental health first aider. Is this the same thing? This role specifically focusses on supporting survivors of sexual and domestic abuse and, as such, sits separately from other roles. That said, there are many similar, transferrable skills in each of these roles, so an existing wellbeing champion of mental health first aider might also be a good fit for this role, depending on their capacity. Dealing with colleagues’ disclosures of abuse sounds stressful. Is it? It can be upsetting, yes. Secondary trauma and burnout is common among those working with survivors of abuse. Throughout our training, we emphasise that the role of the Support Ambassadors is to provide information and signposting to trained specialists. We also focus on the importance of self-care and encourage Ambassadors to seek their own support if needed. Our training includes a supervision session and ongoing support and resources, and we encourage Ambassadors to reach out to us and the other ambassadors in their network too. As an employer, it’s important that your Support Ambassadors are given the time, resources and support to fulfil their role. We encourage line managers to attend the training alongside the Ambassadors as this will provide them with a better understanding of the role. Does this training cover harassment in the workplace? This training focusses on domestic abuse and sexual violence outside the workplace. It’s about ensuring survivors feel comfortable and supported at work. We recognise that sexual harassment and abuse within the workplace can be a huge problem, and we run separate training courses on tackling this. If you’d like further information, please email our training team at [email protected] We have also developed a Trauma-Informed Quality Mark to help workplaces provide appropriate support and trauma-informed responses to disclosures of sexual violence and abuse both outside and within the workplace. This includes an in-depth look at policies and procedures for dealing with disclosures of abuse and how to instil a culture change throughout the workplace. Who will be running the training? Our trainer Linda Lewis. Linda is an experienced Training Consultant with over a decade of expertise, specialising in nationwide training for Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVAs) and ISVA Service Managers. She excels in survivor-centred services, collaborates with local authorities and charities, and contributes to national projects. Find out more about her here.