By Emma Carolan
As a person, oftentimes you are the first port of call. And not being trained or knowledgeable in this area can sometimes make it hard to properly process what you’re being told.
However, your reaction can be the gateway to that person beginning the process of healing from the event.
Here at MA, we’re promoting HEART – a 5-step guide to help you help them :
What support employers, schools and institutions should provide for sexual assault and harassment
Here at MA, we have access to a confidential counselling service – accessible via a phone number. From the phone call you can organise counselling sessions via phone or face to face and you’re able to take the time off to attend the sessions.
We have Mental-health first aiders, trained and committed to keeping MA’s mental health at first rate. We’re looking to establish an anonymous forum where employees can reach out for support with issues, internal or external, and seek help and support without feeling exposed.
As a company, we all sit on the same floor with no dividing cubicles. The purpose is to encourage communication and collaboration and present the opportunity to make friends outside of your direct team and be able to or feel welcome to approach anyone in the company – including our Head of HR, Matt (He’s anyone’s at the mention of a cup of tea).
We also have an amazing Diversity and Inclusion programme where we’re encouraged not to shy away from the big issues (such as violence against women) and can point out changes – including policies - that could potentially be made.
These are all great steps and something all companies should be offering. However, steps that could help further include:
- Expanding the terms of compassionate leave to allow victims to take leave as they process and recover. It could also give them the confidence to open the dialogue in the first place.
- Recognised “mental health days” in addition to sick leave.
- Mandatory Sexual Harassment training for all employees – what it is, how to recognise it, what is appropriate conduct and what to do in response to seeing or being a victim of.
- A clearly worded and circulated policy that also covers how an accusation of Sexual Harassment/Assault will be dealt with in the company/institution - they must all be investigated!
- A programme where once someone has asked for advice or help, a follow up is scheduled and it’s not just forgotten about
- A dossier or list of partners/organisations/charities, easily accessed or visibly published, where a help can be sought without confiding in the workplace
- A check-in or buddy system, where people are paired up and encouraged to meet or check in regularly, preferably outside of the office, where they can speak confidentially
- An examination of health insurance policies to ensure they’re just as helpful towards women as men
This list is not finite, it will need to grow and develop as society and the workforce does, but it’s important that people know they are cared about and for. Don’t struggle alone.
If you or anyone you know has been affected by one or some of the issues we’ve covered this week, you can find a list of directories that can point you in the right direction of seeking help on the MA website here.
You can also download a printable poster of HEART for a visual reminder to open communication in your organisation or institution : /uploads/maheartmethodposter.pdf