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TSSA speak up for Scottish domestic abuse policy

9 April 2017

Transport and Salaries Staff's Association (TSSA) will spearhead a campaign to drive domestic abuse on to workplace agendas at the Scottish Trades Union conference in Aviemore later this month.

Consequences of domestic abuse too often have an impact on the victim's attendance and performance at work and can result in thme losing their jobs or scoring poorly in workplace evaluations.

TSSA Scotland members are hoping to use their STUC platform to promote the need for employers to become aware of, support and adopt Domestic Abuse Policy.

We are confident the motion will pass and members hope to move forward from conference and engage with the Scottish Government to ensure all Scotland's devolved government and council bodies and other publicly-funded places of work from hospitals to schools, franchised services to non- governmental organisations and other public supply chains associates adopt Domestic Abuse Policy.

Said TSSA Organising Director, Lorraine Ward, "TSSA is 120 years old this year and was one of the first unions in Britain to allow women equal access to union membership as men. I like to think we have been on the right side of history when it comes to progressing womens lives ever since and there's no doubt about it this policy initiative is well overdue.

"The shocking truth is, on an average day in Scotland 1137 women children and young people contact Women’s Aid looking for practical and emotional support and information and sadly 27% of women and children seeking refuge are turned away due to lack of safe or suitable space. Some women end up staying at home living with their abusive partner because there is no where for them to go.

"More than a third of our TSSA members are women and making a difference to domestic abuse policy is very much a TSSA women led agenda because of first hand experience amongst our women members of the collateral damage domestic abuse can have on victims in their workplaces.

"Unions are so much more than the awful media stereotype of men in donkey jackets around braziers. Modern unions are places where women come together at work not just to exercise their right to work and earn their living, but also to make a big difference beyond defining pay and terms and conditions in work when it comes to progressing making life better for women, men and the live of their families, beyond the workplace. And a political commitment to domestic abuse policy is very much needed.

"Domestic abuse is still a Cinderella issue. But Scotland's trades unionist will make sure we can and will do better and I'm proud that TSSA women members, supported by our male colleagues are leading in making the difference we all want to see."

The TSSA motion to STUC notes:

Women are more likely to be victims than men. Incidents involving a female victim and a male perpetrator represent 82% of reported incidents.

Domestic Abuse – encompassing physical and emotional abuse and coercive control – is about control and power and as such often affects women in the workplace. It may cause increased absence from work, threats or actual violence carried out in the workplace, harassing or abusive phone calls and emails in work. It impacts on attendance in work, punctuality and performance in work. These factors result in some victims of Domestic Abuse losing their job – putting them even further at risk.

A Domestic Abuse policy in the workplace could offer women vital help and support but many employers do not have one. Such a policy could include extra paid leave, changes to email and phone numbers, or relocation to a safer workplace. It would give women an extra means of getting the help they need to escape their abuse and to safeguard their job.

Conference therefore calls on the STUC to:

* Survey member unions to establish how many employers currently have a Domestic Abuse policy.

* Engage with Scottish Government to make a Domestic Abuse Policy compulsory within all publicly-funded places of work (including franchised services, NGOs and associated supply chains as well as Government and Councils).

* Campaign to promote Domestic Abuse Policies in the workplace to the employers and the wider public."

Conference takes place April 24-26 2017

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