From education to employment

New College Swindon Raise Domestic Violence as Workplace Issue

The positive effects of the first Domestic Violence course at New College Swindon’s Trade Union Studies Unit are still being felt, five months after it had run its course.

The course at the College was run for two days during July, and was attended by male and female health and safety reps, Union Learning Reps (ULRs), union reps and branch officers. Similar courses are available across the country, and the attendees found the experience an intense but rewarding experience, allowing them a new perspective on issues of violence and coping with the effects of abuse.

Recommended to All Reps

One of the attendees was Steve Steiner, who is a health and safety rep for UNISON, the UK’s public service union with more than 1.3 million members. He spoke of his experiences on the course and his trepidation at attending, saying: “Although I was at first a little nervous about attending I recommend this course to all reps.”

He also recommended the course to male colleagues, saying: “Male reps should not be put off as the course really explains the effect domestic violence/abuse can have in the workplace.” He stressed the importance for a successful workplace of this course: “This course highlights how everyone can be affected by domestic violence, and how the effect in the workplace can range from being disciplined for poor time keeping to having a grievance against you for being a bully.”

Positive Impact

The UNISON Swindon & Wiltshire Health branch secretary, Alison Ingram, said: “It was a well thought out course. It was really good that both male and female reps attended. All reps should attend the course, as domestic violence is so prevalent in todays society. Representatives from this Branch will definitely be encouraged to attend future courses.”

The attendees took action on the basis of their learning experience. Following participating in the course, they drew up a contact list to be placed on notice boards across the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust, to allow members to contact someone in confidence at any time. They also drafted a Domestic Violence Policy document for the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust, which is currently under consultation.

Jethro Marsh

Is awareness of the effects of violence good enough? Tell us how you would address the problem in the FE Blog

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