Monday 5 January 2015

How Would You Discuss The Power of Relationship Abuse as A Work Place Issue?

If you've been in a shared space with 15 people today, there's a good chance that 3 or 4 of them will have experienced Domestic Violence/Relationship Abuse. 

Surprised? Don't be. There are some truly shocking statistics that tell of the cost of Domestic Violence/Relationship Abuse to the individual, to society and employer.

The targets of Domestic Violence will have been abused:

  • Sexually
  • Physically
  • Emotionally
  • Psychologically
  • Economically
They will have been assaulted and controlled by partners over a sustained period. 

A client has asked us to deliver a piece of Customer Care Development for a team of 15 members of support staff. Our discussions helped us to design a programme that delivers an event where Customer Care is addressed through the following 3 Themes.
  1. Safeguarding
  2. Domestic Violence/Relationship Abuse
  3. Mediation/Conflict Resolution

This novel approach means that the organisation's Service Users will receive a meaningful event that looks at Customer Care as a process that honours high ethical values and places the client at the centre of actions and decision making. Not only is this the right thing to do but it also makes sound financial sense in creating a life-time relationship between the organisation and its customers. One that is based on feelings and engagement that go beyond the traditional understanding of "service"

New Developments: Updating our materials required that we look at proposed changes/developments in the Law that address Coercive & Controlling Behaviour. Here's What We Found

New Domestic Violence Law:

Key Facts

  • The announcement by the Home Secretary Theresa May is that there will be a new domestic abuse offence of: “Coercive and Controlling Behaviour.”
  • Maximum penalty: 5 years imprisonment and a fine.[1]
  • New law is designed to protect victims by outlawing sustained patterns of domestic abuse that stop short of serious physical violence, but amount to extreme psychological and emotional abuse.
  • According to the Telegraph, there will be no statutory time limit for the offences, which means that abuse dating back years can be taken into account.[2] (This was not on the official press statement, so this may not be true.)

  • Coercive and controlling behaviour can include:
    • Preventing the victim from having friendships or hobbies,
    • Refusing them access to money
    • Controlling everyday aspects of their life such as when they are allowed to eat, sleep and go to the toilet.

  • A number of ways that witness testimony could be supported at prosecution:
    • Documentary evidence: Threatening emails or text messages
    • Bank statements that show the perpetrator has sought to control the victim financially.

  • The new law will be introduced as a series of amendments to the Serious Crime Bill, currently going through the House of Lords, and is expected to be on the statute books in the New Year.[3]


  • This change to the law is being made in response to a consultation over the summer (2014.) It has been welcomed by Polly Neate (Chief executive of Women’s Aid,) Rhea Gargour and Antonia Packard (Sara Charlton Charitable Foundation) and Laura Richards (Chief Executive of Paladin.)
  • It has been observed by victims that the Coercive and Controlling behaviour - from which the new law seeks to protect them - is in many ways the worst part of the abuse, as opposed to the physical violence.
    • There is something in that, as there is not currently a specific offence for controlling behaviour. Such law that currently exists to protect people from domestic abuse focuses on breach of a restraining order, damaging property, assault, burglary, rape, kidnapping and murder. This does not describe the essence of domestic abuse.[4]
  • However it is important to remember that this new offence is not law yet, as the amendments to the Serious Crime Bill have not yet been made.
  • Efforts should therefore be made to monitor the amendments to the bill, so that it is fully understood exactly what counts as the offence, the penalty and whether the offences can be retroactive.

What to do next

We can provide training and development for your teams. 
Contact us on 0121 602 7191/07984409937 or by email

We're here to Discuss, Design and Deliver a programme for you and your colleagues.

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