Throughout June, PayPlan upskilled a group of individuals at Santander on domestic abuse awareness in a financial service setting.

The National Domestic Abuse helpline, which is run by Refuge, reported a 25% increase in calls and online requests for help since the lockdown. With this added pressure, there has arguably never been a more important time to raise awareness of the subject among members of staff at all levels across businesses.

Since 2018, PayPlan has focused on the close relationship between debt and domestic abuse. The organisation first started working with domestic abuse charity Broxtowe Women’s Project, whose training consultant Chris Harris mentored the free debt advice provider to develop a bespoke training course.

Antony Price, Training and Partnership Manager at PayPlan, said: “In 2019, at PayPlan, we saw domestic abuse disclosures rise by 42%, and we’ve seen more than half that number of cases already in 2020. This is evident of the impact that domestic abuse training has when delivered to customer facing colleagues. We look forward to continuing this work with Santander and seeing the impact that this training has had.

PayPlan’s Vulnerable Client Expert and trainer, Emma Gibbons, said: “With lock-down changing how we communicate with clients, it’s arguably now more important than ever to learn the most up to date legislation and practical conversation models to support all vulnerable clients. This includes creating a safe space and support system for people to disclose domestic and economic abuse.”

As a result of the training, Santander will be raising awareness around the topic of Domestic and Economic Abuse among colleagues through their intranet and improving internal guidance for staff.

Jayne Ireton, Supplier Manager at Santander, said: “The webinar was really insightful and informative. Understanding how men and women are affected by domestic and financial abuse and the scale of the issue was an eye opener. There are many ways people can experience abuse and the session highlighted the importance of understanding customers’ specific needs to be able to explore the best way to support.”

With the impact of Covid19 limiting traditional face to face training methods PayPlan has adapted its approach to offer all its courses online via Zoom.

One attendee commented: “I used to be a trainer for Santander and the thought of delivering a training session over Zoom rather than classroom would have been daunting to me. So, I can only appreciate and admire how you have had to adapt.”

Another attendee added: “I thought the Zoom call worked really well and all the interactive tools you used helped keep it flowing.”
PayPlan trained around 120 Santander colleagues via Zoom from a broad range of departments including those who work in Collections and Recoveries, Customer Facing teams, HR and Specialist Support.

In addition to co-creating the Domestic Abuse Training Course, Broxtowe Women’s Project also helped PayPlan to implement its Safeguarding strategy by reviewing policies and procedures and forming a Safeguarding committee.

PayPlan has also reformed its approach to how it supports survivors of domestic abuse who seek debt advice. In September 2019, PayPlan worked with Refuge to launch a pilot service to support women living in a refuge. The national charity reviewed PayPlan’s external procedures, like how client information is stored, to identify any potential points in the system that could impact someone who is, or has been, affected by domestic abuse.

Find out more about the training courses on offer from PayPlan.