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Pandemic's rise in domestic abuse prompts policy change at RSA Insurance

RSA Insurance has introduced a new policy granting paid leave to employees dealing with issues of domestic abuse.

RSA partnered with charity Women's Aid to provide training to employees so they could better support domestic abuse sufferers in the workplace.

The new policy, developed with resources from the Employers Initiative on Domestic Abuse (EIDA), builds on the domestic abuse guidelines first introduced by the company in 2021.

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Gemma Jackson, head of diversity and inclusion at RSA, said the rise in domestic abuse cases during the pandemic prompted the company to take action.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: "Research has shown that the average employee in the UK will spend over 84,000 hours at work. This makes our workplace an important social environment and we firmly believe employers are responsible for ensuring workplaces are diverse and inclusive.

"We have seen the media reports on the surge of domestic abuse cases during the pandemic and that prompted us to think about what we can do to better support our employees."

Research from charity MSI Reproductive Choices found there was a 33% increase in domestic violence reports during the first UK lockdown.

Jackson added that other employers should look to implement similar policies in the future. 

She said: "This policy is a first, company-wide step we’re taking and by publicising this launch, we hope to encourage other employers to review their guidelines and take the initiative to roll out similar policies. 

"While in the UK, women are more likely to experience domestic abuse, we recognise that domestic violence can affect men, trans or non-binary identified individuals and can have a lasting impact on entire families.

"Recognising the destabilising impact living with domestic abuse can have, we wanted to do our part to create a safe space for everyone at RSA."