By Karen Schucan Bird

Workplace training on domestic abuse is effective, helping employees to understand abuse and know how to respond. Yet, with diverse programmes and specialist providers, it may be difficult to know which aspects of training are essential for delivering improvements in the workplace. Recent research completed by Dr Karen Schucan Bird and colleagues at UCL offers insight into the content and delivery of effective training. Based on employees’ experiences and quantitative evidence, the research pinpoints the key features of effective training in workplaces and community settings. The findings lead to the following recommendations:

To develop effective training programmes:

  1. Provide information on the warning signs and nature of DA, the impacts of abuse on victim-survivors, guidance on how to respond (e.g., empathetic listening), and details about relevant resources (e.g., local specialist services)
  2. Use visuals, statistics, and case scenarios in the delivery of the training
  3. Tailor the training to the audience, to “meet people where they are”. This means providing information that is applicable to employees in the workplace setting (e.g., appropriate referral routes or links to policies and procedures), build relationships of trust with colleagues, and ensure that materials are culturally appropriate.

In delivering training in your workplace, consider:

  • Involving educators or experts in domestic abuse
  • Whether domestic abuse training should be mandatory or voluntary in your setting.

Additional issues that may be important to bear in mind:

  • Acknowledge the discomfort of talking about domestic abuse
  • Ensure that training materials include diverse groups without stereotyping
  • Use group learning formats to allow colleagues to learn from each other.

For more information about these recommendations and considerations, see the discussion section of the article here, published in Health and Social Care in the Community (2024). A summary of how to support someone who is experiencing domestic abuse is published in The Conversation.