SHOPS and businesses are being encouraged to keep an eye open for potential warning signs of domestic abuse – for both victims and perpetrators.

To help drive the message home, leaflets are being distributed to employers across the Darlington area.

Entitled ‘Domestic violence and your workplace’, the leaflet describes how businesses can really benefit if they help their employees to address domestic violence. It shows that businesses with effective domestic abuse policies can reduce sickness, stress and staff turnover amongst their employees.

Darlington Partnership director, Seth Pearson said “Businesses tell me that the business case for doing this is clear – firms which show concern for their employees will have more effective staff and people with greater commitment to their organisation."

The scheme aims to raise awareness of how to support staff members who may by the victim of domestic violence whilst also putting in place measures to help raise any concerns.

Darlington’s director of public health, Miriam Davidson, said: “Domestic violence is a serious public health issue. The impact it has on a person and their family cannot be over-estimated.

“The focus of this initiative is to raise awareness amongst employers. Helping employers to recognise when an employee might be suffering domestic violence and having practical measures in place to support them to stay safe and in work can be immensely important to their health and wellbeing.”

Supporting the campaign, Durham's Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg, added: “I would encourage any victims of domestic violence to talk to someone. Employers who put up posters indicating their support, or who provide counselling for victims, can really helping their employees to deal with the situation they are in.”

Victims of violence abuse are encouraged to obtain specialist support from Harbour on 03000 202525.

For copies of the leaflet or for help to ensure your company can provide the best support for any of your employees suffering domestic violence, contact Holly Dobson at