COUNCIL staff in Renfrewshire who suffer domestic abuse are now able to request special paid leave to receive necessary support.

The move follows Renfrewshire Council’s commitment to being one of the first local authorities in Scotland to formally introduce a domestic abuse policy for staff.

The policy aims to demonstrate that the council has a zero tolerance approach to all forms of abuse – psychological and physical – and shows its support for all employees impacted by domestic abuse, past or present.

According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, in the UK in any one year, more than 20 per cent of employed women take time off work because of domestic abuse – and two per cent lose their jobs as a direct result.

Commission figures also reveal that 75 per cent of women who experience domestic abuse are targeted at work – from harassing phone calls and abusive partners arriving at the office unannounced to physical assaults.

Renfrewshire Council’s policy provides guidance for any employees who are living with domestic abuse, as well as staff who suspect that work colleagues may be suffering.

It also outlines the steps supervisors and managers should take to support colleagues who choose to speak out about their abuse and who are seeking help.

Domestic abuse policy champions are being introduced at a senior level.

Councillor John Shaw said: “As one of the first local authorities in Scotland to adopt this approach, we want to send a clear message that we will support anyone affected by domestic abuse.”

Renfrewshire Council has also been working closely with UK domestic abuse charity SafeLives to support the implementation of the new policy.

Liz Thompson, director of external relations at the charity, said: “Domestic abuse is everybody’s business – and this includes employers.”