The Southern Health and Social Care Trust is urging staff who may be affected by domestic abuse to seek help.
Domestic abuse is any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, verbal, sexual, financial or emotional) inflicted on one person by another, where they are intimate partners or family members, irrespective of gender or sexual orientation.
The PSNI receives calls about domestic abuse every 19 minutes.
One in four women will experience domestic abuse during their lifetime and PSNI highlight that up to one quarter of crimes reported to have a domestic abuse motivation affect men.
The Trust has teamed up with the PSNI and Women’s Aid to launch a new workplace policy and guide on domestic abuse and is keen to raise awareness amongst staff over the Christmas period when the incidents of abuse are known to increase.
Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development for the Southern Trust, Vivienne Toal said: “Last year there were over 5,000 incidents of domestic abuse reported across our area and as such a large employer we are very aware that some of these could have potentially involved our own staff.
“We want to support the wellbeing of our staff and urge anyone who might be affected or who suspects a colleague may be experiencing abuse, to seek help at any time, but especially over the holiday period which we know can be particularly stressful for anyone in these circumstances.
“As health and social care professionals many of us know how to recognise the signs of domestic abuse and how to get support. However, it is important for us to be mindful that as well as our patients and clients, it could actually be a colleague who is experiencing abuse.
“We hope that this new guidance helps to give staff the confidence to reach out to support each other and indeed to protect themselves from the threat of abuse.”
The new policy and guide explains what domestic abuse is, how to identify it and what to do if you are experiencing abuse or suspect a colleague may be affected. It also includes a list of support organisations and their contact numbers.
For more information and advice log on to http://bit.ly/SHSCTDomesticAbuse