A NORTH-East council has signed the Work to Stop Domestic Abuse charter as part of GMB’s campaign for greater support for employees experiencing domestic abuse.

Durham County Council pledged to support employees who are experiencing domestic abuse to access support services and information confidentially.

Council leader Councillor Simon Henig, chief executive Terry Collins, and GMB branch secretary Joy Thompson signed the charter at the council’s County Hall headquarters.

They were joined by Cllr Alan Napier, the council’s deputy leader, Cllr Angela Surtees, cabinet member for social inclusion, Cllr Andrea Patterson, cabinet member for corporate services and rural issues, Cllr Lucy Hovvels, cabinet member for adult and health services, John Hewitt, corporate director of resources; Jane Robinson, corporate director of adult and health services; Amanda Healy, director of public health and union representatives Julie Wynn, Tracy Metcalfe, David Clegg and Les Timbey from GMB.

GMB’s Work to Stop Domestic Abuse, Employer Charter calls on employers to pledge to support employees experiencing domestic abuse to ensure that they will not be disadvantaged at work.

In signing the charter, the council has confirmed that it will take measures to facilitate the workplace needs of employees who are experiencing domestic abuse; is committed to helping employees easily and discretely access practical and emotional support; has promised to work with other organisations to offer the best available support; and pledged to train its staff to provide support in the workplace.

Cllr Henig said: “As an employer who cares about the impact of domestic abuse on our employees, we are committed to providing them with the best support we can.

“The latest available figures show that an estimated 1.3 million women and 695,000 men aged 16 to 59 experienced domestic abuse in England and Wales in a year. It’s essential that as a council we work not just to stop abuse but that we take responsibility as an employer to protect our workforce where we can and remove any avoidable stress.”