The local provider of specialist NHS mental health and learning disability services is supporting International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women by raising awareness of its domestic abuse policy.
South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust recently launched its domestic abuse policy and dealing with domestic violence policy to raise awareness of the problem and to provide guidance for staff as to how to respond to any incident they are made aware of.
Figures released to coincide with International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25th November 2010 show that each year more women suffer rape or attempted rape than have a stroke, and the level of domestic abuse in the population exceeds that of diabetes.
Violence against women and children can take many forms including domestic and sexual violence, harassment, forced marriage and human trafficking. It is recognised by the Government as a major public health issue and studies estimate that it affects 1 in 4 women between the ages of 16 and 59 at some point in their lives.
The Trust is committed to ensuring that it creates a culture that reflects its values of treating people fairly, helping them stay in control and being treated with dignity and respect. It has therefore introduced two policies to tackle domestic abuse as part of this commitment.
The domestic abuse policy gives staff guidance on what services the Trust has in place to help those who have experienced domestic abuse and highlights the serious consequences it can have on a persons’ life. The policy makes it clear that any employee who is experiencing or has experienced domestic abuse can come to the Trust for support and have their concern treated effectively, sympathetically and in confidence.
The domestic violence policy also gives staff a framework that they can follow if they are responding to an incident of domestic abuse involving a service user or other member of the public. The policy ensures that all responses by the Trust are consistent, effective and delivered in partnership with other organisations. The policy details the actions that staff should take when they are made aware of an incident and the things they need to take into consideration including confidentiality and the presence of any children.
James Corson, the Trust’s HR business manager said, "The Trust is committed to protecting the safety of staff and those who use our services or come into contact with them. The NHS is in a unique position to help as it is the one service that almost all victims of domestic abuse will come into contact with at some point in their lives. Staff should make sure they are aware of what services the Trust offers in order to help and what responsibilities they have to respond to any incidents of domestic abuse that they are made aware of."
If you are concerned about someone who may be experiencing domestic abuse or you are experiencing it yourself, you can also get advice 24 hours a day from the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247