CSR Executive, Business in the Community Ireland
The pandemic has seen a blurring of the traditional boundaries between home and work. This has brought increased risks for victims of domestic abuse.
For those living with an abuser, having to work at home brings a greater threat of abuse. Many victims of domestic abuse have often seen the physical workplace as a safe haven and a place of respite from the ill-treatment they might be experiencing at home.
The impact of domestic abuse in the workplace
It is clear that domestic abuse can no longer be dismissed as ‘a private matter behind closed doors.’ The duty of care of employers to their staff means that companies have a pivotal position in demonstrating that such abuse will not be tolerated in society. Yet, despite this, research from our sister organisation Business in the Community UK has shown that as few as 5% of companies surveyed have developed specific guidelines or policies on domestic abuse.
As few as 5% of companies surveyed have developed specific guidelines or policies on domestic abuse.
The duty of employers
What is the role of the employer on this critical issue? Irish health and safety legislation places an onus on businesses to provide workers with a safe working environment where employee wellbeing is recognised as an important consideration.
Vodafone Ireland are one organisation who have taken a proactive stand on this issue. In 2019, they launched their Domestic Violence policy. As Aoife Mulqueen, Talent and Development Partner at Vodafone Ireland, says: “Since then, we have gained momentum in using our platform to talk about this grave social issue.” Key to Vodafone Ireland’s response has been “continuing to educate our people and working with Women’s Aid to raise awareness both inside our organisation and externally.”
As part of the implementation of the Domestic Violence policy, Vodafone Ireland partnered with Women’s Aid. Mulqueen notes: “They were instrumental to the success of our roll out of our policy.” Women’s Aid were able to design and deliver training to Vodafone’s People Manager Community and so empowering them to support victims of abuse.
Further resources available
Business in the Community Ireland have developed a resources pack that lists organisations who are leading experts on the issue of domestic abuse and who your company might potentially partner with.
This resource pack also lists toolkits and guides which your company will find useful when drafting your own workplace policies. It will empower you to open up conversations within your own companies about acting on domestic abuse.