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Women in Unison

This page aims to provide news, information and interesting links on women related issues.

Menopause Awareness

Follow the links to find UNISON resources supporting women members:



Menopause ET CASE

Welsh Womens Newsletter HERE

The Other Half issue —  Great reading to keep up to date!


 Dear UNISON Wales, March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and every year we run a symptoms awareness campaign that aims to reach as many women as possible with the key messages about the symptoms of ovarian cancer.  

As part of our campaign we reach out to organisations, like yourselves, to see if we can work with you to raise awareness amongst your members and staff. We are particularly interested in raising awareness in Wales next year and if you are interested we would be delighted to work with you on any of following during March 2014: 

·         Providing you with leaflets and posters which you can make available to staff and members

·         Hosting an information table at any of your events or meetings in March

·         Delivering an ovarian cancer awareness talk to your staff and members

If any of this is of interest please do get in touch with me and I will be very happy to organise for our volunteers to work with you. Whilst it would be ideal to raise awareness during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in March we’d be very happy to work with you at any time of the year to raise awareness.

I look forward to hearing from you.  Kind Regards,   Abi

Abi Begho | Healthcare Project Manager | Ovarian Cancer Action

0207 380 1740 |

Your Womens Officer for this branch is  Jane Gebbie  TEL: 01639 641648 

National Unison Womens Page HERE    



White Ribbon Campaign- Ending Violence Against Women and Girls     Domestic Abuse as a Workplace Issue

 Although domestic abuse usually happens in the home or the private sphere, many effects of domestic abuse spill over into the workplace. People in the workplace can be affected by domestic abuse because they have experienced it, perpetrated it or witnessed the terrible consequences of it on family, friends and communities. Domestic abuse currently costs UK employers over 1.9 billion per year. Employers can significantly boost the safety and well-being of their employees by addressing this issue, and therefore increase the productivity and effectiveness of their workplace.

 Domestic abuse is a form of violence against women and girls; it is defined as any violent, threatening, coercive or controlling behaviour in current or past familial, domestic or intimate relationships. This includes not only physical abuse but threats of violence- direct or indirect, rape and sexual assault, emotional and psychological abuse, economic control, property damage, social isolation and any behaviour which causes another person to live in fear. It also includes forced marriage and FGM. Domestic abuse is primarily, but not exclusively, perpetrated by men against women. (where there is ongoing abuse, i.e. four or more incidents, 89% of victims are women)

 Physical violence does not occur often in the workplace but emotional and psychological abuse does happen, often through an ongoing campaign of harassment by the perpetrator. The consequence of these forms of abuse are many and can directly influence a person's ability to carry out their job to the best of their ability. In some cases the victim and perpetrator work in the same place which provides the perpetrator with opportunities for abuse and potentially violence at work.

Victims of violence and abuse may suffer from a lack of concentration, anxiety, depression and low self esteem. They may need to take days off work to conceal injuries, seek medical attention, attend legal appointments or even to simply escape the abuser through changing their routines. Some people may end up having to leave their job so that an abusive ex-partner cannot find them again. As a result of the impact abuse has on the working life of a victim, employees may find themselves being disciplined for absenteeism and/ or declining work performance. Colleagues may find it stressful to watch someone else go through being abused and feel powerless to help. Victims who have left an abusive partner may need extra support due to the likelihood of escalating violence at this point. They may also need extra time off to organise new housing, childcare etc.

 Many victims do not contact services or tell anyone about their experience; a woman is hit 34 times on average before reporting to the police. This is due to fear of recrimination from the abuser, feelings of shame, or guilt because they have been told that it is their fault, fear of a negative response or previous experience of negative responses, or the fear that they will not be believed as many abusers display a completely different persona in public. It is often hard for colleagues to understand the very valid reasons why a woman cannot leave an abusive relationship and this leaves them unable to give the full support and understanding a victim needs. Most people recognise physical and sexual abuse but have little knowledge of the significant effects of other forms of domestic abuse including psychological, financial or emotional abuse. This includes behaviours such as threats and emotional blackmail, threats against the children or even threats of suicide if the victim does not carry out the abusers demands. Victims may have access to little or no money of their own, and victims are often isolated from friends and family as well as being prevented from enjoying a social life. There needs to be a greater awareness and understanding in the workplace of all forms of abuse that can occur.

 A perpetrator in the workplace often uses work resources to continue their abuse. For example, using the phone and email to check up on a partner or send threats. They may be absent from work in order to harass or stalk their partner or ex-partner. Perpetrators may be more focussed on abusing their partner or ex-partner rather than concentrating on their job. These people may also need time off work to attend legal appointments, court appearances or perpetrator programs.

 Domestic abuse can affect ANYONE in the workplace and given the extent of abuse- at any one point in time it is estimated that 1 in 9 women are experiencing such abuse- it is likely to be an issue that most workplaces will have to address. The workplace is potentially a place of refuge for those experiencing abuse and can offer intervention, support and prevention. Many workplaces have a duty of care towards their employees to protect them from an abusive partner or ex-partner harassing them at work or entering the workplace to threaten or assault them.

 Signs that an employee may be a victim of domestic abuse:

  • changes in behaviour and work performance
  • lack of concentration or other stress related behaviours
  • repeated or unexplained absences
  • signs that phone calls are disturbing or unsettling
  • bruises or injuries that are unexplained or with unlikely explanations

 What can employers do to help?

  • commitment from senior management to tackle domestic abuse as a serious issue
  • raise awareness of domestic violence and it's impact on people and the workplace
  • provide employees with information about local/ national domestic abuse services
  • draw up and implement a domestic abuse policy
  • provide staff training and reinforce training with information on boards/ intranet
  • develop strategies for dealing with abusers coming into the workplace
  • develop strategies for dealing with abusers in the workplace eg. prohibiting the use of work resources to carry out harassment
  • develop strategies for supporting victims in the workplace eg. screening phone calls, making sure victim is not the last to leave, allowing changes in travel plans,
  • create a safe working environment with security protocols for abusers and safety planning for victims
  • form partnerships with local domestic abuse services
  • be aware of the legal framework for dealing with domestic abuse cases
  • creating a culture where domestic abuse is not tolerated or condoned, including tackling workplace jokes and banter which support abuse
  • become a White Ribbon Employer

 Remember it is not the function of the employer to be a counsellor towards people suffering from abuse, in fact often no advice is better than bad advice, but to mitigate the effects of abuse in the workplace to the best of their ability.

 White Ribbon Campaign  White Ribbon House, 1, New Road, Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 5DZ Telephone: 01422 886545



Women's Aid is the key national charity working to end domestic violence against women and children. We support a network of over 500 domestic and sexual violence services across the UK.             

 0808 2000 247     Free phone 24 hr National Domestic Violence Helpline


Are you being exposed? - handy information on toxic chemicals

Breast Cancer UK's No More Breast Cancer campaign has recently launched a handy information leaflet. Designed to fit in a pocket, wallet or handbag, Are you being exposed? is a handy guide to avoiding toxic chemicals in everyday products.


    No More BPA Campaign

Breast Cancer UK have launched the No More BPA campaign calling for the Government to take action to stop BPA being used in the manufacture of baby bottles.

Updated pregnancy diary

UNISON has produced an updated Pregnancy diary, to support expectant mothers in workplaces. Download HERE

The Women’s Resource Centre supports women’s organisations to be more effective and sustainable. They provide training, resources and support to women's organisations and we campaign and lobby on key issues for the sector.