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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

16 Days of Action on domestic abuse

Rupert McNeil speaking at conference
Rupert McNeil, Civil Service Chief People Officer

Saturday saw the start of this year’s 16 Days of Action aimed at raising awareness of domestic abuse and how this affects us in the workplace.

The Corporate Alliance is a charity that works with employers to address the impact of domestic violence in the workplace. Its director, Melissa Morbeck, has experienced domestic violence and explains why this is so important.

“Work was my only safe place. When I told them what was going on they supported me wholeheartedly – everything from giving me a company car to go to counselling, time off to see lawyers, and they believed in me. Each person's journey is personal and full of dignity and grace. That's critical for people to know. And it's critical for people to know that they are not alone.”

Melissa Morbeck, The Corporate Alliance Director

Employer initiative on domestic abuse logo
The Civil Service supports the Employer Initiative on Domestic Abuse

The Civil Service is working with other public and private sector employers on how best to support those experiencing domestic abuse. We already provide a range of help and to share our experience more widely, we recently took part in research, which Ipsos MORI is doing on behalf of Vodafone. This is looking at best practice and the results will be reported to a conference later this week. I am looking forward to hearing their conclusions on what more we might do.

This research, along with current best practice in departments, will enable us to develop a model Civil Service policy and new guidance. This will cover support for both female and male victims, the manager’s role and how to minimise the risks posed by perpetrators while also encouraging them to tackle their behaviours.

The research will also feed into a new toolkit which Public Health England and Business in the Community will be developing in the New Year. We will make this available as soon as it is ready.

  • An estimated 1.2 million female victims (7.5% of women) and 713,000 male victims (4.3% of men) are estimated to have experienced domestic abuse in 2016/17
  • 77 women and 28 men were killed by a partner or ex-partner in 2015/16

Source: Crime Survey for England and Wales, year ending March 2016 and year ending March 2017

If you need support in relation to domestic violence, you may want to speak in confidence to your departmental Employee Assistance Programme. Depending on whether you are a victim or a perpetrator, you may also wish to:

  • speak to your manager
  • talk to your doctor, health visitor or midwife
  • call 0808 2000 247, the free 24-hour National Domestic Violence Helpline run in partnership between Women's Aid and Refuge
  • call the Men's Advice Line free on 0808 801 0327 (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) or ManKind on 01823 334 244 for advice and support for men experiencing domestic violence and abuse
  • contact the National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0800 999 5428 or email
  • contact Respect on their free helpline 0808 802 4040 for confidential support if you want help in tackling your abusive behavior
  • in an emergency, call 999

People like the actor Sir Patrick Stewart are being open and sharing their own experiences helping to highlight how domestic violence can impact anyone in society.

People’s attitudes towards victims and perpetrators are changing, but there is still more to be done to raise awareness and ensure practical support reaches everyone who needs it. This is something we will be taking forward in the Civil Service as part of our wider commitment to diversity and inclusion as set out in our Diversity and Inclusion Strategy, published in October.

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  1. Comment by Gavin Thomas posted on

    Thank you for promoting this. I would agree that domestic violence does not necessary have to be just through physical contact. We also need to acknowledge that it not as easy as it might seem for someone to simply leave home and live elsewhere. I have a friend who waiting until the time was right to move out of the family home with their children. They felt that they need to wait until such a move would not affect the children.

    I would agree that there is a greater level of awareness these days but there is still more that we could do.

  2. Comment by Sue Price posted on

    Domestic abuse need not be violent, the consequences of long term verbal abuse are just as damaging but there are no physical scars just your word against their's.