City giant Hogan Lovells has endorsed the launch of a charity’s government-backed advice line to help employers support staff experiencing or at risk of domestic abuse.
Funded by the Home Office, the free service run by crisis support charity Hestia advises businesses on how to approach disclosures of domestic abuse by their employees, particularly in light of Covid-19.
They will also be helped to signpost staff to specialist domestic abuse services.
Hogan Lovells and, at the other end of the law firm spectrum, Paul J Watson, a specialist criminal and family law practice in Middlesbrough, are already subscribers to the charity’s Everyone’s Business initiative.
Through this, Hestia works with employers so that they can provide information, resources and practical guidance to employees who have experienced domestic abuse.
They follow Linklaters, which recently introduced a policy and package of support  for employees living with domestic abuse, including paying for emergency hotel accommodation.
Hestia said that during lockdown it saw a 47% increase in victims reaching out for information and support on its free domestic abuse app, Bright Sky.
Susan Bright, global managing partner for diversity & inclusion and responsible business at Hogan Lovells, said: “Domestic abuse can have devastating consequences, and leave people faced with impossible life choices. Employers have an important role to play in supporting their employees, particularly this year and during the pandemic.
“We welcome the launch of the new advice line and hope that it will ease some of the pressure on those who are vulnerable.”
Lyndsey Dearlove, head of the advice line, said: “Lockdown has meant victims have been away from their place of work, in isolation with their abusers, often with no way to seek support. Now, as more people return to their place of work, employers have a unique role to play in breaking the silence around domestic abuse.
“By providing a free advice line that offers guidance, employers will be able to help their employees and direct them to practical support. When employers take action and respond to domestic abuse, we know it saves lives. For too long domestic abuse has been nobody’s business and it is time it becomes everyone’s business.”