Wirral Council is believed to be the first in the UK to provide up to 10 days’ paid special leave, specifically for employees who are victims of domestic abuse.
The leave is available to survivors who may need to relocate or access various legal or support services relating to their experience of domestic abuse.
Following a motion by Cllr Paul Stuart, cabinet member for law and order, put forward and agreed at full council in December 2018, special paid leave for victims of domestic abuse was added to the Council’s Special Leave provision.
Cllr Stuart, chair of Wirral Domestic Abuse Alliance said: “A major barrier to leaving for many victims of domestic abuse is financial burden and time off work. Sadly, for many survivors, leaving an abusive situation can often mean they lose their livelihood too.
“Introducing additional practical support options for survivors and victims of domestic abuse is something we are passionate about in Wirral. I am proud to say that the more than 3000 people employed by the council now have access to 10 days of paid special leave, should they need it, in cases of domestic abuse.
The announcement comes as women’s groups the world over celebrate International Women’s Day and call for gender equality with this year’s theme, #BalanceforBetter. It is hoped that the new policy will go some way to redressing the imbalance for survivors of abuse.
In the run up to the one year anniversary of the alliance’s #ItsNeverOk campaign to end domestic abuse, the policy is another example of Wirral’s real-world efforts to support survivors.
Cllr Stuart continued: “It is my hope that local businesses will follow this example and introduce support mechanisms which help survivors to leave harmful situations, rather than hinder them. Together, we can say #ItsNeverOk to domestic abuse.”
The existing domestic abuse policy, which has supported survivors since 2006, now offers up to 10 days paid time off to employees (survivors) to attend court, solicitors, counselling, support agencies, refuges, arrange rehousing or change childcare arrangements etc.
Prior to the introduction of the further five days additional leave in December last year, which is typically a stressful time for victims of domestic abuse, an amendment removing the requirement to exhaust other forms of leave before utilising up to five days special leave for domestic abuse reasons was made in August 2018.
The support will be available to all council employees who are experiencing domestic abuse, regardless of gender.
- If you've been the victim of domestic abuse, or are concerned for someone who is, you can visit www.itsneverokwirral.org for information about the local resources and services available.
- In an emergency, if you’re concerned for your own or someone else’s immediate wellbeing, always dial 999. In non-emergency cases and for general advice, please call 101.
- Follow @wirralcouncil’s #ItsNeverOk campaign on social media for myth-busting content around domestic abuse.