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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 29 July 2013

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Housing, Building Maintenance & Community Safety

 

Domestic Abuse Workplace Policy

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To advise Cabinet of the newly created Domestic Abuse Workplace Policy.

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet approve the attached Policy (Appendix A).

2.         That Cabinet endorse its implementation across the whole Council.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To assist the Council in meeting its duty of care under the Human Rights Act, the Equality Act and Health and Safety Legislation.  It will also meet the forthcoming 'ending violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence (Wales) legislation'.

2.         To ensure that employees who are victims of domestic abuse are dealt with in a sympathetic, non judgemental, confidential and effective manner.

Background

2.         The Welsh Government's 10,000 Safer Lives Project has sought to improve the response of the Public Service in Wales to victims of domestic abuse.  One of the areas identified for immediate action is for all public service employers to have a violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence workplace policy.  This is one of the eleven minimum standards for public services in Wales.

3.         Having a workplace policy on this issue is a clear statement that the Council will not tolerate any form of abuse within or outside the workplace. 

Relevant Issues and Options

4.         Given the statistic that 1 in 4 women (and 1 in 7 men) will experience domestic abuse at some point in their life, it is likely that the Council will have staff that have or are experiencing domestic abuse (as well as those who are perpetrators of abuse).

5.         Domestic abuse in the workplace can impact on performance e.g. decreased productivity, lateness, stress, absenteeism, errors and increased employee turnover.

6.         This new Domestic Abuse Workplace Policy demonstrates a commitment to provide support for staff and take action against perpetrators

7.         The policy aims to raise awareness amongst all employees of the prevalence of domestic abuse via the use of team meeting briefing note.  Chief Officers will receive training in the risks and consequences of domestic abuse in the workplace.  Line managers and Human Resources staff will undertake e-learning training on the risks / consequences and also how to support staff.

8.         The policy also clarifies roles / responsibilities within the Council as well as providing details of specialist support agencies that will enable them to break free from abusive relationships whilst maintaining their employment.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

9.         The cost of delivering the training courses and developing the e-learning package is approximately £1600.  This will be met from within existing budgets.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

10.      There are no direct Sustainability and Climate Change Implications as a result of this policy.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

11.      Under the Human Rights Act 1998 all public bodies have an obligation to protect the human rights of individuals and to ensure that their human rights are not being violated.  Implementing a workplace policy can help the Council meet their human rights duties in relation to incidents of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence.  Failing to tackle this could lead to an infringement of the Human Rights Act.

12.      An effective domestic abuse workplace policy will ensure that the Council is complying with health and safety legislation relevant to violence at work i.e. the Health and Safety at work etc Act 1974, The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 and The Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996.

13.      Welsh Government are planning to introduce legislation in Spring 2014 entitled  'Ending Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence'

Crime and Disorder Implications

14.      There are no direct Crime and Disorder Implications as a result of this policy.  However, information recorded by the Council relating to domestic abuse incidents may be used by the Police in pursuit of a criminal prosecution.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

15.      The Equality Act 2010 includes a 'public sector duty' and those subject to the general equality must have due regard to the need to: eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; advance equality of opportunity for protected groups and foster good relations.  The scale and impact of violence against women, domestic abuse and sexual violence is so significant that implementation of this policy ensures the Council prioritises the issue.

16.      The completion of an Equality Impact Assessment identified that one of the protected groups i.e. women, have different needs or priorities with regard to this policy.  Therefore the availability of this policy that opposes all forms of domestic abuse will ensure that any person that discloses domestic abuse will be supported.

Corporate/Service Objectives

17.      Domestic abuse and sexual violence are identified as priorities in the Safety Vale Strategic Assessment, the Community Strategy and the Strategic Equality Plan.

Policy Framework and Budget

18.      The report is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

19.      The Policy has been through the formal policy development consultation process.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

20.      Corporate Resources

Background Papers

Equality & Human Rights Commission guidance for development of an effective policy.

Welsh Government letter of 4th March 2013 regarding workplace policies.

 

Contact Officer

Andrea Davies - Corporate Health & Safety Officer Tel: 01446 709361

Sarah Potts - Domestic Abuse Co-ordinator Tel: 01446 731699

 

Officers Consulted

Heads of Service

Operational Managers

Employment Policy Formulation & Review Group

Employment Lawyer

Personnel Officers

Joint Trade Unions

Equalities Officer

 

Responsible Officer:

Huw Isaacs - Head of Performance & Development Tel: 01446 709760

 

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