Linklaters launches new policy and support programme for victims of domestic abuse

Linklaters has introduced a new policy and package of support for employees living with domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is indiscriminate of age, gender, race, profession or social background and during the Covid-19 pandemic there have been reports of a disturbing spike in domestic abuse cases – making working from home during lockdown measures an intimidating prospect for some people.


Linklaters is committed to ensuring its people are free to live and work in a supportive and safe environment and has introduced the following emergency support measures for individuals experiencing domestic abuse:


  • Emergency Accommodation. To support employees, and their children, who need to flee their home in an emergency Linklaters will fund three nights’ accommodation in a hotel and provide a daily living expenses allowance.

  • Paid Leave. To provide individuals with the flexibility to take time out seek the support needed without the worry of juggling work, losing holiday or the financial stress, the firm will provide up to 10 days paid leave.

  • Emergency Assistance Fund. Linklaters will enable access to a one-off payment of up to £5,000 to support an individual in becoming financially and physically independent from their abuser. There will be no requirement to repay the firm. This money can be paid in a variety of means to ensure that the individual has full control of it.

  • Access to Surviving Economic Abuse. Financial abuse is a form of domestic abuse and Linklaters has partnered with Surviving Economic Abuse, a UK charity dedicated to raising awareness of, and transforming the response to, economic abuse, to provide fully confidential, one-to-one, expert advice to support anyone who needs to fully separate their finances from their abuser.


These measures are part of a wider package of support and sit alongside the firm’s new UK policy.


We all have a role in spotting and addressing signs of abuse and in supporting those who are affected, as such, Linklaters is also working with leading experts SafeLives to provide training for its HR team and people managers on how to spot the signs, have conversations and signpost support for those living with domestic abuse. The firm has also ensured that access is available to resources for supporting colleagues and loved ones.


David Martin, Global Diversity and Inclusion Partner at Linklaters, comments: 

“The future of how and where we work remains uncertain. For now, our homes are now our workplaces and it is clearer than ever that domestic abuse is a workplace issue. The true scale of domestic abuse is unknown, but we know that there are no shields – it is something that impacts people of all ages, income brackets, education levels and backgrounds. We have introduced this comprehensive package of support because we want to send a clear message to any of our people living with abuse that they are not alone, we care, and the help they need is available to them.”

Dr. Nicola Sharp-Jeffs, Founder and Chief Executive of Surviving Economic Abuse, stated:


“This is a particularly challenging time, with Covid-19 social distancing and isolation measures leaving victim-survivors of domestic abuse even more isolated and inadvertently reinforcing the power that an abusive partner holds. We know that victim-survivors of domestic abuse will be concerned about their physical safety, as well as their economic well-being.


We are so pleased to be partnering with Linklaters at such a crucial time to raise further awareness of the devastating impacts of financial abuse and to provide support where it’s needed.” 


Briony Williamson, Head of Training at SafeLives, said:


“Recent surges in the reporting of domestic abuse cases, whilst numerous individuals were also losing their office as their safe space, highlighted the importance for employers to be taking action on domestic abuse. From the start of our work together, the commitment and enthusiasm of the Linklaters team has been inspiring. The comprehensive package they have created to support staff really puts them at the forefront of employer responses to domestic abuse.”