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VISION Policy Series: The impact of intimate partner violence on job loss and time off work in the UK

Key research findings

The latest research by VISION colleagues, Vanessa Gash and Niels Blom at City, finds serious negative effects of intimate partner violence and abuse (IPVA) on labour market outcomes, with 3.6% of those who experienced intimate partner violence losing their jobs because of the abuse. Furthermore, 1 in 10 of those who experienced intimate partner violence took a period of leave from work, with 1 in 4 of those who took leave needing to take a month or more off work.

Based on a large statistically representative sample for England and Wales, this research is one of the first to examine different types of IPVA, with five categories distinguished in the analysis.

The report examines differences between those who experienced; (1) physical abuse, (2) sexual abuse, (3) stalking, (4) coercive or controlling behaviour, as well as those who were (5) threatened with abuse by a current or former intimate partner. There were strong differences in prevalence of IPVA by sex, with women disproportionately exposed to threats (34% compared to 15% for men) and to sexual violence (7% compared to 3% for men). Additionally, compared to men, women were more likely to report multiple types of violence and abuse.

Job loss is associated with all five forms of IPVA, and the risks were highest for those who experienced: stalking, sexual violence as well as physical threats by an intimate partner. The research also includes qualitative findings from those with lived experience of IPVA and abuse. Participants noted an ongoing stigmatisation of victims of abuse, which had serious impacts on disclosure. Victim-survivors noted their fear of being declared ‘unfit for work’ and of becoming a ’marked person’ should they disclose their abuse to relevant managers.

Policy implications

  • Though IPVA was found to have significant effects on victims’ experiences at work, those with lived experience noted a reluctance to disclose IPVA to relevant managers.
  • Employers may therefore want to consider enhanced IPVA and DA support systems for employees in the workplace.
  • While we can expect enhanced support to improve job retention and productivity, we currently lack the appropriate data to directly examine these effects

For further information please download the full report below and / or contact Dr Vanessa Gash at vanessa.gash.1@city.ac.uk.

About the authors

Dr Vanessa Gash is a Reader in the Department of Sociology and Criminology at City and a member of the UKPRP VISION team based at the Violence & Society Centre.

Dr Niels Blom is a Research Fellow at the Violence & Society Centre and a member of the UKPRP VISION team.