Newcastle City Council Domestic Abuse Policy for Staff

Newcastle City Council Domestic Abuse Policy for Staff
October 2013, Updated June 2021
If any of the information in this Policy is needed in another format or language, please contact:
Joan Flood, Community Safety Lead 
(Violence Against Women and Girls / Hate Crime)
Joanne Douglas, Workforce Development and Training Officer
(Violence against Women and Girls)
1.0 Policy statement 
2.0 Policy aims
3.0 Introduction
4.0 White Ribbon Accreditation
5.0 Statutory definition of domestic abuse
6.0 Domestic Homicide Reviews
7.0 The impact of domestic abuse in the workplace
8.0 Identifying and responding to victim / survivors of domestic abuse in the workplace
9.0 Ensuring safety
10.0 Identifying and responding to perpetrators of domestic abuse in the workplace
11.0 Confidentiality and safeguarding
12.0 Information sharing and record keeping
13.0 Special leave and other supportive measures
14.0 Occupational Health
15.0 Raising awareness
16.0 Community Safety Team
17.0 Monitoring and review of the policy
Appendix 1 Policy context
Appendix 2 Local support services and interventions for victim / survivors and perpetrators

1.0 Policy statement

It is Newcastle City Council’s policy that every employee who is experiencing or has experienced domestic abuse has the right to raise the issue with their employer in the knowledge that we will treat the matter effectively, sympathetically and confidentially.
This policy also covers the approach we will take where there are concerns that an employee may have used abusive behaviour towards an intimate partner or ex-partner or other family member.
We are committed to developing a workplace culture which recognises that some employees will be experiencing domestic abuse and that the workplace should be a place of safety and one which recognises that perpetrators of domestic abuse are responsible and accountable for their behaviour.
Through this policy and working to reduce the risks related to domestic abuse, we aim to create a safer workplace and send out a strong message that domestic abuse is unacceptable.
Newcastle City Council recognises that domestic abuse is an equalities issue and undertakes to not discriminate against anyone who has been subjected to domestic abuse, both in terms of current employment and future development.
This policy is part of Newcastle City Council’s commitment to family friendly working, and seeks to benefit the welfare of individual members of staff; retain valued employees; improve morale and performance; and enhance the reputation of Newcastle City Council as an employer of choice.
Under the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1992), Newcastle City Council recognises its legal responsibilities in promoting the welfare and  safety of all staff. Therefore, this policy applies to staff across all sites as well as agency and contract staff.
This policy is aligned with and informed by a number of internal policies, plans and strategies, see appendix 1.

2.0 Policy aims

  • Reduce recurrence and prevent incidents of domestic abuse
  • Improve the safety and welfare of both adults and children who are affected
  • Assess and manage risk and communicate this effectively with other professionals
  • Provide a consistent and achievable policy framework within which Newcastle City Council can work when supporting those experiencing or affected by domestic abuse
  • Provide a response and service that respects the diversity of our workforce
  • Promote respectful relationships
  • Promote the principle that everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect
  • Promote wider social change

3.0 Introduction

Domestic abuse is a serious social and criminal problem that accounts for almost a quarter of all violent crime and has significant human and financial consequences for individuals, families, communities and society as a whole. Domestic abuse can affect anyone, regardless of their gender, age or race.
Incidents of domestic abuse are common and have a serious impact on those who experience them. According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales year ending March 2020, an estimated 5.5% of adults aged 16 to 74 years (2.3 million) experienced domestic abuse in the last year. This equates to a prevalence rate of approximately 5 in 100 adults.
Domestic abuse is both a cause and consequence of gender inequality, with women disproportionately the victims. Whilst the majority of victim / survivors of domestic abuse are females abused by a male intimate partner or ex-partner perpetrator, we recognise that victim / survivors can also be male with a female perpetrator, and that domestic abuse can and does occur in same sex relationships and in wider family relationships. 
However, women abused by male partners or ex-partners are more likely to:
  • Experience a complex pattern of overlapping and repeated abuse within a context of fear, power and coercive control
  • Experience repeated and much more severe forms of abuse, including sexual violence
  • Be physically injured or killed by men
  • Experience non-physical abuse, including emotional and financial abuse, than men
For the year ending March 2020, the Crime Survey for England and Wales estimated that 1.6 million women and 757,000 men aged 16 to 74 years experienced domestic abuse in the last year. This is a prevalence rate of approximately 7 in 100 women and 4 in 100 men. Women were significantly more likely than men to be victims of each type of abuse.
Despite the extent and impact of domestic abuse, and the costs within the workplace, it remains largely hidden and unidentified by most employers. People experiencing domestic abuse are often subject to disciplinary action or job losses, often through no fault of their own.

4.0 White Ribbon Accreditation 

Newcastle City Council strives for a city where women and children are free from all forms of male violence and abuse. That is why Newcastle City Council have committed to work towards accreditation under the White Ribbon Campaign during 2021 - 2023.  The White Ribbon Campaign aims to engage men and boys to make the safety of women and girls a man’s issue. We will operate in collaboration with many organisations working to end male violence against females and to challenge and change the attitudes and beliefs which underpin it. Our focus will be on mobilising men and boys, the wider community, business and community groups, sports teams, faith communities and others in a social movement to take and continue action. Most males share a belief that violence against women and children is never acceptable. We will invite men and boys to be part of a movement to eliminate gender-based violence.  Newcastle needs men and boys to join us in taking the opportunities they have to make a lasting change in attitudes and behaviours to ensure the safety and wellbeing of women and children. Men speaking to other men about violence against women is a powerful catalyst for change. 

5.0 Statutory definition of domestic abuse

The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 introduced a statutory definition of domestic abuse emphasising that it is not just physical violence. It can also be emotional abuse, coercive or controlling behaviour, sexual violence and abuse and economic abuse. As part of this definition, children are also explicitly recognised as victims if they see, hear or otherwise experience the effects of  abuse.
The Act states that the behaviour of a person (the perpetrator) towards another person (the victim / survivor) is domestic abuse if the perpetrator and victim / survivor are both aged 16 or over, are personally connected to each other and the behaviour is abusive.
‘Personally connected’ means they are, or have been, in an intimate personal relationship, they have, or have had, a parental relationship in relation to the same child, or they are relatives.
Behaviour is ‘abusive’ if it consists of any of the following:
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Violent or threatening behaviour
  • Controlling or coercive behaviour
  • Economic abuse (any behaviour that has a substantial adverse effect on the victim / survivor’s ability to acquire, use or maintain money or other property, or obtain goods or services)
  • Psychological, emotional or other abuse
It does not matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a course of conduct.
Further information on what constitutes domestic abuse can be found:

6.0 Domestic Homicide Reviews

Domestic Homicide Reviews (DHRs) were established on a statutory basis under section 9 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act (2004), which came into force in April 2011. A DHR is a review of the circumstances of the death of a person due to violence, abuse or neglect due to domestic abuse. DHRs aim to identify lessons learnt and how policies and procedures can be changed to improve support and services to victim / survivors and their children.
The DHR guidance was updated in 2016 and now also includes a requirement to carry out a review when someone takes their own life (suicide) and there is a history of domestic abuse or there is evidence that they were in a coercive, controlling relationship; even if a suspect is not charged with any offence or have been tried and acquitted.  Reviews are not about who is culpable.  
When a perpetrator of domestic abuse kills the victim, it is often not the first attack and is likely to have been preceded by psychological and emotional abuse and coercively controlling behaviour. Many people and agencies may have known of previous incidents, including employers and colleagues of both the victim and the perpetrator. Employers and colleagues can be invited by the Domestic Homicide Review Panel to participate in the review of the circumstances leading up to the death. As a consequence of working in the same place and / or alongside a domestic homicide victim or perpetrator, employers or colleagues may possess valuable knowledge useful to the homicide review. 
The Home Office actively encourage employer involvement in the DHR process and hopes that employers will see their engagement as an important part of their duty of care to their employees.

7.0 The impact of domestic abuse in the workplace

We acknowledge that within the Newcastle City Council workforce, there are those who have experienced abuse in their personal or professional lives and those who may be perpetrators of abuse. We know domestic abuse can have a negative impact on the morale, productivity and performance of our staff and by adopting this policy, Newcastle City Council aims to address this.

7.1 The impact of domestic abuse on employees can include, but is not limited to:

  • Direct impact on an employee’s ability to work due to physical abuse
  • Absenteeism due to long term injuries such as chronic pain, vision or hearing loss and the psychological impact of domestic abuse such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and / or use of alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism
  • Taking time off as a result of having to seek help from solicitors, doctors or support agencies
  • Lateness as a result of the abuser trying to prevent an employee from going to work
  • Harassment in the workplace: perpetrators of domestic abuse may target a victim / survivor at work. This can include unwanted telephone calls, emails, the abuser turning up at the workplace or leaving unwelcome notes on the victim / survivor’s car.

7.2 The impact of domestic abuse on work colleagues can include, but is not limited to:

Domestic abuse also affects people close to the victim / survivor and this can include work colleagues. Other staff members may:
  • Have to fill in for absent or non-productive workers
  • Try to ‘protect’ the victim / survivor from unwanted phone calls or visits
  • Feel helpless and unsure about how to intervene
  • Feel distracted from their own work
  • Experience a negative impact on their own mental health, especially if they are being abused themselves or have previous experience of domestic abuse

7.3 The impact of domestic abuse on the employer can include, but is not limited to:

  • Negative impact on productivity, performance and morale
  • Increased staff turnover as employees may have to leave work or move away to escape abuse
  • Organisational reputation loss
Research published by the Home Office suggests that in the year ending 31 March 2017, domestic abuse is estimated to have cost the economy £14 billion arising from lost output due to time off work and reduced productivity as a consequence of being abused.

8.0 Identifying and responding to victim / survivors of domestic abuse in the workplace

It is most likely that a manager will become aware that an employee is experiencing domestic abuse through associated issues such as absence monitoring or poor performance. It is less likely that the employee will approach their manager to disclose domestic abuse in the first instance, or that they will disclose to other people at work. As with other welfare issues, identifying that an employee is experiencing difficulties at an early stage will lead to appropriate help being offered. This, in turn, could mean that the member of staff is able to deal with their situation far more effectively.
An employee experiencing domestic abuse could display the following:
  • A change in working pattern, such as absences or frequent lateness
  • Missing deadlines or a reduction in the quality / quantity of work in general
  • A large number of personal calls / texts, avoiding calls or a strong reaction to calls / texts / emails
  • Spending an increased number of hours at work for no apparent reason
  • Frequent visits to work by the employee’s partner / relative, which may indicate coercive control
  • Conduct out of character with previous behaviour
  • Changes in behaviour: for example, becoming very quiet, anxious, frightened, tearful, aggressive, distracted, or depressed
  • Being isolated from colleagues
  • Obsession with leaving work on time
  • Worried about leaving children at home
  • Visible bruising or single or repeated injury with unlikely explanations
  • Change in the pattern or amount of makeup used
  • Change in the manner of dress, for example, clothes that do not suit the climate which may be used to hide injuries
  • Ex/partner / relative stalking employee in or around the workplace or on social media
  • Ex/partner / relative exerting unusual amount of control or demands over work schedule
  • Isolation from family and friends
It is not the role of managers to advise anyone in this situation, what to do about their relationship or to act as a ‘counsellor’ but rather to deal with practical issues that will allow them to stay in work, stay safe, not be penalised at work because of the domestic abuse and to signpost them towards specialist sources of help.
Managers need to develop a sensitive, pro-active and non-judgmental approach when dealing with employees who have experienced domestic abuse, which can include:
  • Taking the employee seriously and taking time to listen to them. This conversation should be held in private, without interruptions and be prepared that this may be an upsetting conversation.
  • Ensuring that any discussion about the employee’s situation takes place in private and that you respect their confidentiality as far as possible. (See section 10.0 Confidentiality and safeguarding for further guidance)
  • Understanding that the member of staff may not wish to approach their line manager and may prefer to involve a trade union representative who can advise the employee and / or their line manager on what measures can be taken.
  • If an employee does not wish to speak to their line manager, they should be advised of the difficulties which may arise if the manager is not aware of the relevant facts and circumstances, for instance, if there is a potential health and safety issue or if other action is being taken on performance or absence monitoring.
  • Being aware that there may be additional issues faced by the employee because of their age, gender, sexuality, ethnic background, disability etc.
  • Being non-judgmental; the employee may need some time to decide what to do and may try many different options during this process. Research has shown that it can take a long time to break free of an abusive relationship.
  • Do not assume that because an individual returns to, or stays in an abusive relationship, that they want or deserve abuse, or that the abuse is not severe or does not take place. Statistics have shown that the risk of more serious violence, permanent injury and homicide taking place increases significantly when a victim decides to leave home or immediately after. It is important therefore, not to underestimate the danger or assume that the fear of abuse is exaggerated.
  • Never ask for proof, dismiss reports or use judgemental language such as ‘why don’t you just leave?’ or ‘why haven’t you told anyone before?’

9.0 Ensuring safety

The responsibilities of employers, employees and others for the health and safety of persons at work are defined by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. The City Council has developed guidance for managers to deal with incidents where an employee is verbally abused or threatened or physically assaulted in the course of their duties. This is detailed in the Newcastle City Council Health and Safety at Work Policy, which can be found on the intranet.  Failure to comply with the Policy may result in disciplinary action.
The Health and Safety Policy details the responsibilities of managers and employees; however, managers may have to consider additional factors if these incidents involve domestic abuse. These incidents may involve abusive partners or ex-partners visiting the workplace, abusive phone calls, or intimidation or harassment of an employee by the perpetrator.
These issues could be addressed by the following measures:
  • Improve security measures, such as changing keypad numbers or ensuring that access to buildings is open to authorised staff only.
  • Remind reception or switchboard staff not to divulge information about employees, especially personal details such as addresses, telephone numbers or shift patterns.
  • Offer temporary or permanent changes in workplace, work times and shift patterns, helping to make the employee less at risk at work and on their journeys to and from work. This could include changes to the office layout to ensure that the employee is not visible from reception points or from ground floor windows.
  • Offer changes in specific duties, such as answering phones or working in a reception area, or in exceptional circumstances, transfer to another job of the same grade, if an alternative is not easily found.
  • Agree what to tell colleagues and how they should respond if the abuser rings or calls at the workplace. Provide colleagues and security staff with a photograph of the abuser and other relevant details such as car registration numbers which may help them to maintain security in the workplace.
  • Change telephone number and email address to make it more difficult for the perpetrator to harasses the victim / survivor.
  • Make sure that the systems for recording staff whereabouts during the day are adequate and if the work requires visits outside the office, considering how risks can be minimised, e.g. change duties or allow another colleague to accompany them on certain journeys.  See the Corporate Health and Safety Codes of Practice, under Health and Safety Inspections Checklists for Managers. 
  • Record any incidents of abuse in the workplace, including persistent phone calls, emails or visits to an employee by their ex/partner / relative. You should also take down details of any witnesses to these incidents. These records could be used as evidence in a police investigation or if the victim / survivor applies for an injunction against the perpetrator. The employer could also apply for an injunction if the action of a perpetrator impinges on the health and safety of other staff.  See the Managing Violence at Work Policy Statement and the Preventing Violence at Work Policy
  • It is important to also consider the safety and wellbeing of work colleagues and service users if the perpetrator has access to the victim / survivor at work.
Important: safety of employees must always come first: Managers may have to consider whether the above measures are operationally appropriate. However, ensuring that employees are safe should be of primary consideration throughout this process.  Further information on the range of Health and Safety Policies and procedures can be found on the intranet. 
More detailed guidance is provided in the 

10.0 Identifying and responding to perpetrators of domestic abuse in the workplace

Newcastle City Council will treat any disclosure or conviction of a domestic abuse related offence seriously and individually on its merits. This is with the aim of reducing risk and supporting behavioural change. 
Newcastle City Council is clear that supporting a perpetrator to stop or seek help: 
  • Does not excuse or condone abuse 
  • Is an important step to help provide a safe working environment for all 
  • Protects the lives of those experiencing abuse now and in the future
Furthermore, it should be made clear to all employees that acts of verbal or physical or domestic abuse by employees, on or off duty, and outside of work, are unacceptable. This is reinforced by section 6 of The Employee Code of Conduct which states: 
“What you do in your own time is your business so long as you do not:
  • Put your private interests before your duty to the Council;
  • Put yourself in a position where your duty and private interests conflict or could appear to conflict; or
  • Do anything which could harm the Council’s reputation.”
Conduct outside work may make certain job roles/duties inappropriate and make it impossible for the employee to remain in the employment of the City Council. For example, if a perpetrator of domestic abuse is employed to provide services to vulnerable adults or children and is identified as posing an identified risk to their partner or ex-partner due to domestic abuse, this may make it untenable for them to retain their post.
Proven harassment and intimidation of Newcastle City Council employees by their partner or ex-partner who also work for the Council will be viewed seriously. Harassment could include the improper use of email to receive or transmit material that is designed to, or is likely to cause inconvenience or distress, or to create, receive or transmit any defamatory material.  See the E-mail and Messaging Policy for more details.
If any of the circumstances where concerns of domestic violence against an employee or harassment by an employee are brought to a manager’s attention then advice from your usual HR contact should be sought. A fact-finding meeting would need to take place to decide whether a formal disciplinary investigation is commissioned.  See the Disciplinary Policy for more details.
The majority of domestic abuse incidents do not come to the attention of the police or other professionals. However, employees should be aware that domestic abuse is a serious matter which may lead to criminal convictions.
There are four potential strands in the consideration of a disclosure:
  • A police investigation of a possible criminal offence
  • Identifying risk
  • Facilitating access to specialist, safety-focused support and behaviour change services
  • Disciplinary action
For the City Council’s Domestic Abuse Policy to be effective it needs to be proactive, not just reactive. Therefore, if a manager has concerns about an employee’s behaviour towards an ex/partner or relative, then they should be prepared to raise this with them.
There may be a number of reasons why a manager would be concerned about an employee’s behaviour towards an ex/partner or relative, for example:
  • They could be going through an acrimonious separation
  • They could be very negative and angry towards their ex/partner or relative
  • They may seem controlling, jealous or obsessive about their ex/partner
  • They may display sexist or misogynistic attitudes or make sexist or misogynistic comments about their ex/partner or women generally
  • They may blame the victim / survivor for their problems, refusing to accept any responsibility for their own behaviour
Managers need to develop a sensitive, pro-active and safety focussed approach when dealing with employees who may be a risk to a partner:
  • Take the employee seriously and take time to listen to them
  • Ensure that any discussion about the employee’s situation takes place in private and that you respect their confidentiality as far as possible (See section 10.0 Confidentiality and safeguarding for further guidance)
  • Be respectful but do not collude with victim-blaming or negative descriptions of their ex/partner or relative
  • Be positive, it is possible for perpetrators of domestic abuse to change, if they recognise they have problem and seek help to address it
Please refer to the for further guidance on how to deal with perpetrators of abuse in the workplace.  Managers can also contact the Community Safety Team for guidance (see section 15.0 for contact details.)
Given the prevalence of domestic abuse many workplaces will have employees who are at times a risk to their partner or relatives. Encouraging employees to recognise the signs of this and to ensure they know that Newcastle City Council will be supportive of employees who are taking action to access help.

11.0 Confidentiality and safeguarding

Once an employee has confided in their manager that they are experiencing domestic abuse, the manager should reassure them that they will keep this information confidential as far as possible. 
The exceptions to this are: 
  • Where child protection issues could arise; for instance, if an employee gives information which suggests that their child or another child could be at risk of abuse (whether physical, emotional, sexual or through neglect). 
  • Where an adult with needs for care and support (as defined in the Care Act 2014) could be at risk of abuse (whether physical, emotional, sexual or through neglect).
The manager needs to be satisfied that appropriate steps are being taken to protect any children. If they are not satisfied, they must make a referral to Children's Services and inform the employee of their concerns and action. Information and advice on child protection issues can be obtained from Children’s Services (see Appendix 2 for contact details).
Managers also need to be aware that action may be needed for someone who is 16 or 17 years old who discloses domestic abuse, for example, who may be undertaking work experience placements or an apprenticeship. Child protection procedures also need to be considered in those circumstances.
If there is concern for an adult with care and support needs, the manager should inform the employee that they are seeking further advice from an appropriate agency such the Safeguarding Adults Unit and that they may have to pass this information on. Information and advice on safeguarding adults can be obtained from the Safeguarding Adults Unit (see Appendix 2 for contact details).
Managers have a duty to maintain a secure environment for all staff and this could be made easier if colleagues are aware of potential risks. However, it is essential that the manager agrees with the employee concerned what information to tell colleagues.  Managers should remind staff that this information is confidential and any unauthorised breaches of this could be result in disciplinary action being taken.
The consequences of breaching confidentiality could also have very serious effects for the person experiencing domestic abuse. Statistics have shown that the risk of more serious assaults, permanent injury and homicide taking place increases significantly when a victim / survivor decides to leave home or immediately after. It is important therefore, not to underestimate the danger or assume that the fear of violence and abuse is exaggerated.

12.0 Information sharing and record keeping

If a manager receives a disclosure of domestic abuse from an employee who is a victim / survivor or perpetrator of domestic abuse, it is important that the manager keeps a confidential note of any discussions or action taken, as this information may need to be shared at a future date.
Information may be requested for safeguarding reasons, if there is a criminal and / or civil justice case involving the victim / survivor or perpetrator, to prevent a future crime or incident taking place, or if a Domestic Homicide Review (DHR) takes place.
Should a domestic homicide occur where an employee is involved as either victim or perpetrator, the DHR Panel may request involvement from employers, managers or colleagues. In such a case, the Panel will need as much information as possible, no matter how minor, so that they can fully understand why the homicide occurred.
Examples of the type of information which might be requested by a DHR Panel are:
  • Information about the victim and / or the perpetrator
  • What they had told you or other members of the team about their experience / behaviour, unexplained absences and / or injuries sustained
  • Other people you can recommend who should be invited to take part in the review, e.g. colleagues who may have information to share with the DHR Panel
Any information provided to a DHR will be confidential and is not given under oath. Advice should always be sought prior to sharing information, for example, from a senior manager.

13.0 Special leave and other supportive measures

The Conditions of Service (Section 9: Other Paid Leave) has provision to grant up to two weeks special leave with pay for a variety of purposes, including for an unforeseen personal or domestic crisis. See the Special Leave guidance on the HR website for details. 
Managers should look sympathetically at requests for reasonable time off with pay for employees who have disclosed that they are experiencing domestic abuse, for example, to arrange appointments during the normal working day. Employees who have perpetrated domestic abuse and are demonstrably engaged in addressing their behaviour will also have requests to attend appointments considered. 
Reasonable time off requests could include, but are not limited to:
  • Appointments with specialist support agencies (see appendix 2 for details of local services)
  • Arranging emergency accommodation or rehousing
  • Meetings with criminal justice agencies, e.g. the police, solicitors, probation
  • Making alternative childcare arrange, meetings with schools and specialist children’s support agencies
  • Attending counselling sessions or medical treatment
Managers should also explore other measures supportively, such as temporary negotiated hours. “Temporary negotiated hours” means that by agreement between the manager and employee, the employee’s working hours can be varied for a specifically agreed period of time to allow them some flexibility while they are dealing with a short-term crisis. This would generally apply to staff working outside of the flexi system and does not extend to allowing an employee to work shorter hours for full time pay, other than as allowed for under the emergency leave provisions.
Under the Special Leave Policy, an employee summoned as a witness in a criminal court case will be granted leave. The employee must claim an allowance from the court for loss of earnings and the Council will make up any difference between that and normal pay. Unpaid leave may also be given to an employee to attend a court or tribunal in other circumstances. See the Special Leave guidance on the HR website for details.
Managers should record absences or application for special leave in accordance with normal Newcastle City Council procedures.
Individuals escaping an abusive partner or relative may face considerable financial hardship or have concerns about finding suitable accommodation for themselves and their family. Advice should be sought about what appropriate measures can be taken to help employees in these circumstances; for example, referring employees to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau for financial advice or to the Housing Advice Centre if they’re at risk of homelessness (see appendix 2 for details of support services available).
If the employee has disclosed that their ex/partner or relative has access to their finances or is exerting economic pressure upon them, the Payroll section should be approached to change the method of salary payment.
If appropriate and with the employee’s consent, referring the employee to Occupational Health who will be able to advise on support available to employees, such as counselling.

14.0 Occupational Health

Members of staff experiencing domestic abuse often come to the notice of management due to their sickness absence records.
The Occupational Health Unit (OHU) provides a range of services with the aim of promoting and maintaining good health in the workplace. Information on support services can be found on the OHU intranet site which can be found here
Employee referrals to OHU can be made by a manager through MSS and guidance on making an OHU referral can be found on the HR intranet. 
The OHU can make assessments:
  • Following an employee's absence: their fitness to return to work on the basis of normal hours and duties
  • Following an employee's absence: whether a phased return could enable an earlier return to work
  • Whether absences may be due to any underlying medical condition
  • Whether the employee is likely to be suffering from a disability within the terms of the Equality Act 2010 and if so, may suggest reasonable adjustments for managers to consider
  • Temporary support arrangements for managers to consider
  • Whether referral for physiotherapy or counselling is appropriate
  • Whether a further OHU appointment is needed

15.0 Raising awareness

Newcastle City Council is committed to ending violence against women, children and men. It is essential therefore that the working environment promotes the prevention, early identification, help seeking and effective pathways to safety for those at risk of domestic abuse and for perpetrators. To support this process, it is Newcastle City Council’s view that such abuse is unacceptable and that it will not be condoned, nor should it be made the subject of jokes or graphics.
The Council will aim to raise awareness through the following measures:
  • Committing to achieving White Ribbon accreditation by 2024
  • Preparation and distribution of information publicising the issue and the Council’s policy
  • Training for departmental management teams and other appropriate managers and supervisors
  • Briefings for other appropriate staff, in particular front line staff and customer services centre staff
  • Briefings for Elected Members
  • Inclusion of issues relating to domestic abuse in relevant in-house training sessions and as part of corporate induction
  • Ensuring that information on sources of help for these experiencing domestic abuse and those who are perpetrators is easy to access through Newcastle City Council staff and premises
  • Signing up to GMB Union’s ‘Work to Stop Domestic Abuse’ Charter

16.0 Community Safety Team

Newcastle City Council’s Community Safety Team support the work of Safe Newcastle, the statutory community safety partnership for Newcastle upon Tyne. Safe Newcastle aims to create a safe Newcastle by tackling crime, alcohol, drugs and anti-social behaviour. Working with partners from the statutory, voluntary, community and business sectors, Safe Newcastle aims to develop effective, sustainable solutions to local concerns and build stronger, safer communities.
Domestic abuse is included in the remit of Safe Newcastle and the Community Safety Team who can be contacted for domestic abuse information and advice.
Managers and staff experiencing domestic abuse can contact the team for:
  • Information about, and signposting to, local, regional and national specialist support services
  • Further information and guidance on any section within this policy
  • Information and guidance on any other domestic abuse issue
The Community Safety Team cannot provide:
  • HR advice
  • Advice on disciplinary proceedings
  • Advocacy or casework support for staff experiencing domestic abuse
For further information, please contact:
Joan Flood, Community Safety Lead 
(Violence Against Women and Girls / Hate Crime)
Joanne Douglas, Workforce Development and Training Officer
(Violence against Women and Girls)
For further information on the work of Safe Newcastle:

17.0 Monitoring and review of the policy

The Community Safety Team and appropriate Overview and Scrutiny Panels will monitor this policy to evaluate its effectiveness and update and amend the policy and guidance as appropriate.

Appendix 1: Policy context

This policy is aligned with and informed by the following policies, plans and strategies:
Newcastle City Council Build Forward Better: our medium-term plan for 2021-22 and 2022-23
This report sets out the areas in which Newcastle City council continues to invest, reflecting the needs of all our residents, and particularly those who are most vulnerable. It recognises that we continue to need to make tough choices and explains our rationale for those choices.
This Plan is informed by ongoing consultation with residents, businesses, and partners, and working in partnership across the city, it underlines the council’s continuing commitment to shaping the future of our great city by building forward together.
Our priorities and funding plans for our city are: 
  • Employment: creating more and better jobs 
  • Education and skills: the best learning and opportunities for all 
  • Environment: a clean, green and safe Newcastle 
  • Supporting the most vulnerable people in our city 
  • Health and social care: a healthy, caring city 
  • Housing: building more and better homes 
  • Transforming your public services
The Corporate Equalities Plan
This Plan aims to remove discrimination in employment on the grounds of race, gender and disability.
The Corporate Equalities Policy
This Policy commits to achieving equality of opportunity by removing all direct and
indirect discrimination on the grounds of gender.
Safe Newcastle Plan 2020-23
This Plan has reducing domestic abuse as one of its key strategic priorities with a focus on prevention, protection of victim / survivors and their children, and provision of services to victim / survivors, perpetrators and their children.
The Gender Equality Scheme
This Scheme has the following objectives:
  • Raise awareness of the scope and nature of domestic abuse
  • Reduce the fear of crime, especially among female residents
  • Ensure men and women have equal access to services, using monitoring data where appropriate
  • Promote and deliver employment policies and practices which meet the needs of all staff
  • Provide support for parents and carers
The Dignity at Work Policy
This Policy has the aim of ensuring that employees of Newcastle City Council are free from bullying, harassment and intimidation in the workplace.

Appendix 2: Local support services and interventions for victim / survivors and perpetrators

The Safe Newcastle Domestic Abuse Service Directory has information on local, regional and national services for victim / survivors, children, young people and perpetrators of domestic abuse.
Safeguarding concerns
Concern about a child: during office hours contact the Initial Response Service on 0191 277 2500
Concern about an adult at risk: during office hours contact Adult Social Care Direct on 0191 278 8377 or the Safeguarding Adults Unit on 0191 278 8156 
The out of hours number for concerns relating to both children and adults is 0191 278 7878 
Housing Advice Centre
The HAC can find emergency accommodation for people who are homeless due to domestic abuse.
Tel: 0800 1707 008
Trade Unions
Unions offer members a wide range of support on employment problems and some welfare support.
Tel: 0191 211 6980
Tel: 0191 233 3930