DCSIMG

Sunderland businesses unite to fight domestic abuse

(L-R) Sue Smith, Violence Against Women Project Officer, John and Penny Clough, Justice for Jane, Vera Baird QC, Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter Walls, Chief Executive, Gentoo Group, Kelly Henderson, Business Manager (Domestic Abuse) Gentoo Group.

(L-R) Sue Smith, Violence Against Women Project Officer, John and Penny Clough, Justice for Jane, Vera Baird QC, Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter Walls, Chief Executive, Gentoo Group, Kelly Henderson, Business Manager (Domestic Abuse) Gentoo Group.

BUSINESSES and organisations on Wearside have been urged to help prevent domestic abuse by police and crime commissioner Vera Baird QC.

The prompt came during an event organised by Gentoo, which has endorsed the PCC’s Domestic Abuse and the Workplace strategy.

Ms Baird, who has developed the initiative as part of the regional Violence Against Women and Girls, said having a domestic violence strategy in place at work can be a lifeline for victims.

“It is extremely hard even to talk about,” she said.

“And we are trying to get employers to have a policy in place where they can say we will help in any way we can.”

The strategy will see employees trained to be champions in the workplace to refer victims on to different people to receive the relevant support.

Mrs Baird was joined at the event, held at the Stadium of Light, by Penny Clough MBE and John Clough, from the Justice for Jane Campaign.

The couple’s daughter, Jane Clough, was brutally murdered outside her workplace in 2010 by a violent ex-partner.

In 2012, after fighting for changes to the law regarding prosecutors challenging bail rulings, the amendment to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill was dubbed ‘Jane’s Law’.

Penny, who spoke alongside husband John, said: “This is so important because if you know more than half a dozen people, you can bet you know someone who is a victim.

“We are using our daughter’s story as an example. The support our daughter had from her workplace helped her.

“Knowing that she was a rape victim helped because she found it easier to speak to her colleagues.

“We want victims to be able to come forward and say they need help and for that support network to be in place.”

Kelly Henderson, domestic abuse business manager at Gentoo, added: “There has been a policy around domestic violence and abuse at Gentoo for a long time, but we now have a customer service and are extending that to our staff.

“We hope to get domestic abuse on the national agenda.”

 

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