17 Aug 2023

Nationwide launches support for customers and colleagues facing domestic abuse

Nationwide Building Society is providing tailored support for customers and employees who may be experiencing domestic abuse.

This comes as data published by the ONS shows that approximately 2.4 million adults in England & Wales last year experienced domestic abuse, with around 1 in 5 adults aged 16 or over (10.4 million) experienced this since the age of 16 years.[1]   Those experiencing abuse faced not just violence, but threatening behaviour, financial abuse, or coercive control.

Following a successful pilot, Nationwide has launched its Safe Space initiative, offering discreet support for anyone facing domestic abuse, not just Nationwide customers. This initiative will give people a suitable environment for anyone needing to make calls to third-party experts and helplines. Nationwide branch colleagues will also receive specialised training to help support those experiencing domestic abuse. This includes, helping them manage their finances, providing access to a specialist support team and other resources. The pilot began in 20 branches in Wales, with the plan to roll this out nationally in the coming months.

This comes alongside the launch of an internal policy outlining the resources available to colleagues experiencing domestic abuse. The policy includes access to mental health, legal and financial support services. It also gives the employee an opportunity to change their working arrangements and relocate if required. Nationwide will introduce specialised training for all people managers, awareness sessions for all employees, and a toolkit to advise them on how to support employees experiencing domestic abuse. In addition, a dedicated team of trained employees known as Domestic Abuse Allies will be available, offering support and understanding to anyone impacted by domestic abuse.

This policy was designed in consultation with Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service (SDASS), who are working alongside Nationwide to train their employees, as well as Nationwide Group Staff Union (NGSU) and employees with lived experience of domestic abuse.

Mandy Beech, Director of Retail Services said: “We are proud to actively take a stand against domestic abuse and protect our customers and colleagues who may be impacted by this. We’re pleased that we can now provide a safe space in our branches and support for customers who are experiencing abuse. At Nationwide, we want to support for our colleagues experiencing domestic abuse. We hope more employers will introduce these policies and give much-needed support to those who need it.”

Kate Rowland, Training Manager, Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service said: “It is wonderful to see organisations such as Nationwide making such a positive commitment to support its staff and members who are going through abuse or are who still experiencing the impact of past abuse.  SDASS has delivered the first round of training and awareness raising sessions for key personnel, with more to come, and we hope that the increased awareness among colleagues will support people to reach out and benefit from the excellent support Nationwide can offer, as well as signposting to specialist support services."