Fermanagh South Tyrone Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Cllr Coyle calls for introduction of workplace based Domestic Violence and Abuse Policy.

Published: 22 June, 2015

Sinn Féin Councillor Debbie Coyle has called on Fermanagh and Omagh District Council to introduce a workplace based Domestic Violence and Abuse Policy.

Cllr Coyle made the call at the recent meeting of the Policy and Resources committee of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council last week.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Coyle said,

"Whilst domestic violence/abuse goes on behind closed doors it has far reaching consequences. This includes the effect it has on those victims who are in employment and their working lives.

"Figures from reports carried out in England, Scotland and Wales show that 20% of victims of domestic violence had to take a month or more off work, 53% have at least 3 days off a month, 56% arrived late at least 5 times a month and 2% actually lose their job as a direct result of Domestic violence!

"Locally, PSNI statistics show there have been 908 cases of domestic abuse in the period 2014/2015. That is an increase of 168 from last year's figures. The situation is equally bleak in Omagh, where the figure for 2014/2015 stands at 764, which is an increase of 90 from last year's figures. Whilst I would like to think this is an increase in reporting rather than an increase in abuse at home, these are still worrying figures.

"We therefore need to recognise, realistically, that there will be employees of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council who will be amongst those affected by domestic violence, whether it is as a survivor of domestic violence, an individual who is currently living with domestic violence, someone who has been impacted by a domestic violence homicide or as an individual who perpetrates domestic violence.

Cllr Coyle, the Diversity Champion of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council continues,

"For many victims, work can be a place of safety and even refuge. Therefore I believe it is important that those victims have the choice of approaching a designated officer to confide in. With a Domestic Violence/Abuse work based policy in place, they will receive the support and understanding needed to be able to continue their work but also be signposted to those agencies that can offer further support, such as Women's Aid.

"I feel it is imperative that the Council introduces this policy as it will enable victims to be able to have essential time off work, for example, to seek legal advice, to find a new home or to receive medical help, safe in the knowledge that they will not face any disciplinary action.

"Many organisations including the Western Trust, the PSNI as well as other Councils are already implementing this policy and I think the introduction of this policy would send a clear message that Fermanagh and Omagh District Council will not tolerate domestic abuse in our society." ENDS