Employees at risk of Domestic Abuse
As directed by the government, due to the spread of Covid-19 those who can work from home should do so. However, there are specific challenges and potential risks for those experiencing domestic abuse in the home setting not only for themselves but also for their children and young people.
Those who live with an abuser may feel increased anxiety around the prospect of self-isolation and social distancing, or even quarantine. Additionally, for the many victims/survivors who do not live with their abusers, they may feel an increased level of fear at the prospect of their abuser knowing that they are at home, with the possibility for further surveillance and the opportunities for intimidation and abusive acts that this creates.
Anyone home working and feeling in a vulnerable position can make a safety plan. The Women's Aid Federation of England has information on making a safety plan. There is also advice for covering your tracks online, and an exit site escape button on the website.
You may not have previously made your line manager aware of your personal circumstances, and there is no requirement for you to do this, but consideration of this under the current circumstances may be something to include in your safety planning, as for some a daily check in with your manager may be the only way you can alert someone you need help. If this is something you would find beneficial please discuss with your manager as soon as possible, when it is safe to do so. In a situation of potential risk, use the every-day phrase. Remember to agree this phrase with your Manager so they are aware of this signal. If both you and your partner are employed by the council, you can agree with your manager what alternative word or phrase you will use at a time of escalation. Agree with your manager in advance the action to take if this alert is used - for example the manager can call 999 for you, contact a key worker for you, or advise you to leave your house to seek help.
There are national statements from Scottish Women's Aid and the Violence against Women and Girls sector regarding the concerns, possible impact and commitment to keep vital services in place but these too will be impacted by the current situation.
There will be changes regarding how some organisations offer support services over the coming weeks, keeping in mind their own staff's safety, including providing their service over the phone, online, by text or by email. While services will not be able to operate at their usual capacity, national and local Domestic Abuse services and other relevant services will aim to continue to be available to offer support and guidance including safety planning.
West Lothian Council Domestic and Sexual Abuse Team
Tel: 01506 281 055
Mobile: 07818421480 / 07919571531
Website: www.westlothian.gov.uk www.westlothianchcp.org.uk
Tel: 01506 413721
Victim Support West Lothian: The national helpline is - 0800 160 1985
Scotland's Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline: Freephone 0800 027 1234
Web chat at www.sdafmh.org.uk.
The helpline is there to support anyone with experience of domestic abuse or forced marriage as well as their family members, friends, colleagues and professionals who support them.
National Rape Crisis:08088 010302 or Rape Crisis Scotland
Support for Male Victims of Domestic Abuse
Respect, Men's Advice Line (Scotland): 0808 8010327
Survivors UK provides help for men who have been sexually abused or raped:
0203 598 3898
Employees can also access PAM Assist, the council's confidential counselling service on 0800 882 4102.
In an emergency situation you should call 999.