Working from home and domestic abuse in Lockdown


The radio was on in the background last weekend whilst I was wrestling my way through the doorstep of paper that is The Sunday Times.

I was stopped in my tracks when I heard the radio presenter mention that according to the charity Refuge, phone calls to The National Domestic Abuse helpline had increased by 25% since the Coronavirus lockdown had started.

After the initial surprise wore off, it dawned on me later that afternoon whilst out walking in the forest, that included within this statistic would be members of the insurance community.  Surely not?  

Sadly, Surely yes…

In September 2019 Lloyd’s published the findings of the largest ‘culture survey’ ever conducted in the insurance sector (fair play to John Neal the Lloyd’s CEO for commissioning the survey and his commitment to improving standards of behaviour in the insurance market). 

The findings of the survey made from grim reading and the one statistic that stood out for me (there were many others) was that 8% of all respondents confirmed that they had witnessed an incident of sexual harassment over the previous year.

Now sexual harassment in my book and your opinion might differ from my own here, is a form of violence (both physical and verbal) and the only reason for making mention of the Lloyd’s Cultural Survey in the context of this blog is to highlight that in our profession, whether we like it or not, we have people who think it is acceptable to commit acts of violence.

Notwithstanding the fact that I am not a trained psychologist, I’d wager a large sum of money that these detestable people who think it’s okay to commit these abhorrent acts don’t suddenly change into being paragons of virtue when at home.

At the same time, whilst I have no evidence to support my hypothesis, I ‘d also venture that the same people are more apt to perhaps thinking that violence and abuse are ok and somehow normal.   

What to do

One of the heart-warming corollaries of the Coronavirus outbreak for me is the way it seems to have brought to the fore acts of kindness that have demonstrated the inherent goodness that I believe exists in our towns, communities and our very own insurance industry. It’s certainly had a good galvanising effect.

It seems to me, very genuinely, that we’ve all pretty much bought into the hashtag #InItTogether and as part and parcel of looking out for each other, it surely behoves all of us to keep our eyes and ears open for signs that our colleagues, family members, friends and acquaintances might be suffering from domestic abuse. 

Now I totally appreciate that looking out for key signs is somewhat of a challenge in the Lockdown given the fact that we are mostly using techology to interface with people, but nonetheless, as good listeners I'm sure we can hear, see and sense when things aren't right with people we know.  

Not being an expert on the subject of domestic abuse, I visited the Refuge (leading charity that campaigns against domestic violence) website and found these useful links:

If you suspect or know of someone who is suffering, the information contained in the links could be really useful.

If you are reading this and you are suffering from domestic abuse, please don’t suffer in silence. Visit the links above where you will find the telephone number for Refuge and make that all important call. Most of all know you are important and loved.

Keep well



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