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Belfast event to help employers support LGBT+ domestic violence victims

The Northern Ireland Labour Relations Agency (LRA) plans to hold a panel discussion on the challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ workers experiencing domestic violence and abuse.

The ‘Safe at Home, Safe at Work’ event, taking place during Belfast Pride Festival 2024, will provide employers with information and strategies to better support their employees.

Jude Copeland, a solicitor at Cleaver Fulton Rankin, will chair a panel discussion with Patrick Quigley of the Labour Relations Agency; Cara McCann of HERe NI; Scott Cuthbertson of The Rainbow Project; Clare Corkey of the Men’s Advisory Project; Geraldine McGahey of the Equality Commission; and Clare Moore of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU).

The event will take place at the LRA offices at The Gasworks in Belfast on Wednesday 24th July from 9.15am to 1pm and will be opened by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Micky Murray.

The discussion takes place against the background of consultations of the Ministry of Economy on the implementation Domestic Violence (Safe Leave) Bill (Northern Ireland) 2022.

The document also draws on the LRA’s Safe at Home, Safe at Work guidance, published in conjunction with the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU).

Don Leeson, Chief Executive of the LRA, said: “Employers dealing with LGBTQIA+ employees experiencing domestic violence and abuse can sometimes face unique challenges, including discrimination, confidentiality concerns and a lack of awareness and training.

“Employers already have a legal duty of care and are in a strong position to provide a safe and supportive working environment. In these cases, the workplace offers an important safe haven, while home is unfortunately anything but that.

“During our informal conversational meeting, we will focus on the personal experiences of members of our LGBTQIA+ community who have experienced domestic violence and how they have dealt with it in the workplace.

“We will raise awareness of this sensitivity and inspire employers to create a workplace culture that prioritises the well-being of employees, especially those experiencing domestic violence.

“This approach benefits both the employees and the company.”

Mr. Copeland added: “A diverse group of panelists will share their perspectives and experiences in addressing the issues faced by LGBTQIA+ employees experiencing domestic violence or abuse. Some of these issues can be difficult to identify due to their sensitive nature.

“The timing of this panel discussion at the Belfast Pride Festival is significant because the festival provides a platform to address deep issues affecting both employers and employees. Positive change in the workplace can happen through meaningful conversations like this.

“I would also like to commend the LRA for organizing this event and creating a space for intellectual leadership.”