Employer Engagement Programme

Domestic violence and abuse has traditionally been considered a private family matter but businesses and organisations are increasingly becoming aware that it is an issue which directly impacts employees’ participation at work and the workplace itself. High prevalence of the issue means the cost of domestic abuse to companies can be considerable.

The facts around domestic abuse as a workplace issue are stark:

  • More than 1 in 3 (37%) working people surveyed across multiple industries and at varying levels of seniority have experienced domestic abuse. (Vodafone Foundation, 2019)
  • Almost all (94%) employees who are subjected to abuse report an impact on their work performance. (Vodafone Foundation, 2021)
  • Many women are prevented from working, forced to work part-time or take sick leave, or become ill, stressed, or lose confidence as a result of the abuse they are subjected to. Some will ultimately cease working. (Safe Ireland and NUIG, 2021)

“The fact that the workplace can potentially be the only safe place remaining for victims of domestic abuse really hit home.” - Women’s Aid Training Participant Feedback

But what can I do as an employer?

Supportive employers and colleagues can save lives by providing a place of safety and solidarity, serving as a nexus to community services, and also identifying cases of violence. - International Labour Organisation

Addressing the issue of domestic abuse as an employer is not about taking on the role of a counsellor or support worker. Rather, it is about reducing the stigma that surrounds the issue and offering a supportive space to victim/survivors. In doing so, employers can be well placed to recruit and retain high-performing employees.

Employment has been shown to mitigate the impacts of domestic abuse. Participation in the workplace serves to improve affected employees’ financial situation, promote physical safety, increase self-esteem and social connectedness, and more. Women’s Aid can guide and support you in adopting simple measures which allow employees subjected to abuse to continue working and realise they do not have to endure the abuse alone.

I want to support employee survivors of domestic abuse. Where do I start?

Women’s Aid offers the Employer Response to Domestic Abuse training package, a specialist service for employers. The package focuses on three areas – training, policy, and awareness – with the aim of creating a supportive, understanding, and safe workplace environment for victims/survivors of domestic violence and abuse.

"Excellent training and should be part of management training in all companies and industries to raise more awareness of this issue across our society and to help managers and employees better support vulnerable colleagues." - Women’s Aid Training Participant Feedback

The Employer Response to Domestic Abuse training package includes:

Domestic Abuse Awareness Training

An interactive 3-hour training programme designed for employees who may be in a position to facilitate or respond to disclosures of domestic abuse in the workplace (e.g. HR business partners and line managers) or who are in a decision-making capacity regarding the wider organisational response (e.g. board members, executive teams, etc.). Framed around the 3 Rs – recognise, respond, and refer – this training will provide the foundational knowledge needed to safely and effectively respond to employees subjected to abuse.

Organisational Response to Domestic Abuse Workshop

Guided by international best practices, this 90-minute workshop will give key stakeholders in your organisation the opportunity to identify and explore current and potential supports for mitigating the impacts of domestic violence in the workplace. Participants will leave the workshop with a comprehensive domestic abuse policy framework and an agenda of actions to develop a well-rounded and informed system of support for employees.

Domestic Abuse Policy Development Support

This is a service we offer to organisations which have developed a domestic abuse policy (either finalised or in draft) and are looking for it to be reviewed. A member of our team will complete a full review of the policy, followed by a meeting to address the feedback and respond to any queries you may have around the policy and integrating it effectively in the workplace.

Domestic Abuse Awareness Event

Employees subjected to abuse are more likely to disclose to a colleague over a supervisor, HR representative, or other designated person. As such, this 1-hour awareness event is designed for all employees in your organisation, to increase their awareness around domestic abuse and how to safely respond to it. Taking the form of a webinar, a member of our team will deliver a presentation on the work of Women’s Aid, general awareness raising on the issue of domestic abuse and how it intersects with the workplace, and time for Q&A. The session may be recorded for later use on internal employer networks.


"I found the training hugely powerful and very eye opening. I'm delighted with the practical outcomes that we can implement as well as for the greater awareness the training has brought to my own personal life. Thank you." - Women’s Aid Training Participant Feedback

To create a supportive, domestic abuse-informed workplace culture across all levels of the organisation, we encourage employers to adopt all strands of the training package. However, it is also possible to book some elements separately.


If you would like more information about this project, please contact Hannah Wayte, Employer Engagement Project Lead Trainer: hannah.wayte@womensaid.ie