Guidelines to help businesses support employees who are suffering from domestic abuse will be launched at the University of Ulster’s Jordanstown campus today.
The Workplace Charter on Domestic Violence encourages employers to attain the Charter Award to demonstrate excellence in their workplace policy in supporting abuse victims.
The University’s School of Communication worked alongside ONUS, a subsidiary of Women’s Aid and a specialist training and consultancy service based in Ballymena, to develop the Charter.
Lecturer in Communication, Dr Fred Morrison said: “The University is committed to contributing to the social development of the region and engagement in this project through the Invest NI voucher scheme has enabled us to carry out an important piece of research and provide support to a developing social economy business.”
Adeline Frew, Chairperson of ONUS, will officially launch the Charter today and present the first gold, silver and bronze Charter Awards to local businesses that have successfully adopted the guidelines.
Employers signing up to the Charter pledge to provide staff with sensitive, useful, confidential information on how to get help in their workplace and will facilitate flexible working hours in cases of domestic violence.
ONUS is committed to working alongside employers to put necessary measures in place to ensure support for employees who are victims of abuse.
Collette Stewart, Business Manager from ONUS said: “We developed this Charter in a bid to tackle the issue of domestic abuse in Northern Ireland, which is still incredibly prevalent.
“One in four women and one in nine men experience domestic violence at some point in their lives. We saw the workplace as an opportune place to provide help and support to victims of abuse.
"Research carried out by the University’s School of Communication revealed that adopting these policies will also benefit organisations financially. We see it as a win-win situation.“
For further information on how to sign up to the Charter can be obtained from www.itsaworkplaceissue.co.uk or contact 028 2563 2136.
The award winners were:
GOLD AWARD GOLD CERTIFICATE - Northern Health Social Care Trust
GOLD CERTIFICATE - Newtownabbey Borough Council
GOLD CERTIFICATE - Triangle Housing Association Ltd, Ballymoney
SILVER CERTICIATE - David Ford Constituency Office
SILVER CERTIFICATE - NEELB Headquarters
SILVER CERTIFICATE - Armstrong Solicitors, Belfast
BRONZE AWARD BRONZE CERTIFICATE - Ollar Hair, Ballyclare
BRONZE CERTIFICATE - Joli Clothing, Ballyclare BRONZE CERTIFICATE Craigs Hardware, Ballyclare
BRONZE CERTIFICATE - Amour Beauticians, Newtownabbey
BRONZE CERTIFICATE - Jacqui Neill Photography, Ballyclare