Vodafone is to give staff two weeks of extra paid leave if they are victims of emotional abuse or domestic violence.
The mobile operator will introduce the new ‘safe leave’ policy, after research revealed that three out of ten workers in the UK are subject to abuse at home.
Almost half of the victims are abused by their spouses or partners, and just over half are abused by another family member, Vodafone said.
Vodafone will introduce the new ‘safe leave’ policy. Its Glasgow offices are pictured last week
And – in a revelation that many people will find shocking – nine out of 20 victims of abuse are men.
The findings come just days after Sally Challen had her murder conviction quashed in a landmark case for domestic abuse victims.
Mrs Challen bludgeoned her husband to death with a hammer after years of emotional abuse at his hands, including intimidation and ‘gaslighting’ – a term used to describe making a partner feel as though they are going mad.
Vodafone will soon give staff extra time off work in order to give them a chance to escape this sort of behaviour – as well as other types of abuse.
Victims can then use the time to making new living arrangements, seek emotional and legal support, or help their children adjust.
The telecoms giant said: ‘They can seek professional advice, move house, attend legal proceedings or attend counselling – all without using official leave so these steps can be taken covertly from their abuser if necessary.’
The findings come just days after Sally Challen had her murder conviction quashed
The company has launched a special app, designed to help victims of abuse collect evidence of their tormentors’ behaviour.
The BrightSky app allows users to secretly record and note down abusive behaviour. The notes are then stored in the cloud so that they can be used to prosecute the abuser, even if the phone is wiped or destroyed.
The police already use the app to help victims of abuse in Britain, but now Vodafone is publicising it more widely.
In addition to helping abuse victims store evidence, it also helps users to identify whether they are being abused in the first place.
Users are asked a series of questions about their potential abuser, such as whether they have been forced to do ‘anything of a sexual nature’ against their will, or whether the abuser has physically harmed the family pet.
Potential victims are also asked if their partner is ‘excessively jealous’, makes them feel that the things they do are ‘not good enough’, or ‘humiliates’ them in front of others.
Other indicators of an abuse are partners who insist on having total control of the finances.
According to an Opinium survey of 4,700 people in nine countries, half of people who are abused at home feel too ashamed to discuss it at work.
However, nearly seven out of ten people said that it had impacted their progression at work, and in the UK almost a fifth said they had quit their jobs amid the abuse.
The research – which was conducted in the UK, Germany, Ireland, Turkey, South Africa, Kenya, India, Italy and Spain – found that 37 per cent of working people have experienced domestic abuse of some kind, compared to 30 per cent in the UK alone.