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16 Days of Activism 2018 – Ending Gender-Based Violence in the World of Work

16 Days of Activism 2018 – Ending Gender-Based Violence in the World of Work

One of the key themes for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence this year is ending gender-based violence in the world of work.

We have looked before at why gender-based violence is a workplace issue so find out how you can get involved!

Employers across the South West urged to mark 16 Days of Action by tackling domestic abuse

As part of the international 16 Days of Activism, Public Health England South West is calling on employers across the region to play their part in tackling domestic and sexual violence and abuse.

Domestic abuse is a hugely destructive problem and employers have an important role to play in society’s response to it. The Vodafone Foundation report showed that employers recognise that they have a duty of care to their employees, but that much needs to be done to ensure that all employees who are affected by domestic abuse receive the support they needs to be safe and to rebuild their lives.

The cost of domestic abuse to business is estimated at £1.9 billion a year due to decreased productivity, time off work, lost wages and sick pay. It can potentially have an adverse impact on staff morale, as well as on an organisations image and reputation.

S. Walby, The cost of domestic violence, 2009

Research commissioned by the Vodafone Foundation revealed that only 5% of organisations have a specific policy or guidelines on domestic abuse. Employers can send a clear message that domestic abuse is not tolerated inside or outside the workplace by developing and implementing a policy to tackle the problem. An effective workplace policy can raise awareness, break down the stigma around speaking out about domestic abuse, and create a supportive environment where employees affected by abuse can acknowledge to themselves or their employer that their relationships are abusive or coercive. Smaller employers can also tackle domestic abuse by committing to be ‘domestic abuse aware’ and making information available to employees on what to do if they have concerns.

For example, in Bristol, employers can sign up to Bristol Zero Tolerance and access ‘Domestic Abuse: It’s Your Business’ training which includes developing an organisational policy if needed. Find out more about what other businesses have done here.

Public Health England worked in partnership with Business in the Community to develop a simple Domestic Abuse Workplace toolkit to help any organisation make a commitment to respond to the risk of domestic abuse.

Employers owe a duty of care to employees and have a legal responsibility to provide a safe and effective work environment. Preventing and tackling domestic abuse is an integral part of this and this toolkit, sponsored by The Insurance Charities offers guidance and support.

Download a copy from the BiTC website http://bit.ly/BITCtoolkitSW

Employers in the South West can also access information about local support and advice available by emailing smeeth@phe.gov.uk

Case study

Nick Gazzard’s daughter Hollie was tragically murdered at her workplace in 2014. Nick and his family set up the Hollie Gazzard Trust to reduce domestic violence through creating and delivering programmes on domestic abuse and promoting healthy relationships in schools, colleges and workplaces.

Nick said “With research showing that one in four women and one in six men will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime, it is likely that the majority of workplaces employ staff who have experienced, or who are currently experiencing abuse, as well as employing those who are perpetrators. This has a profound effect on mental health and businesses are starting to recognise this and that they need to act but often feel ill equipped to do so. Spotting the signs, intervening early and signposting appropriately is essential for all businesses. Appropriate training for line managers, raising awareness with all staff and creating a culture of disclosure will help improve the wellbeing of all staff. Businesses have a legal and moral obligation to protect their staff.

“Abuse and stalking is what goes on behind ‘closed’ doors. It’s what keeps these crimes secret. It’s never one isolated incident, it’s a pattern of never-ending coercive control and violence against the victim. It takes huge bravery to admit to being abused and it takes great courage to try and leave a desperate situation. The cost to individuals is priceless, while the cost to businesses is worth billions.

“Domestic abuse is a desperately heinous crime and has a devastating impact on individuals and businesses alike. It is imperative that businesses understand that by creating an improved culture of wellbeing for staff, the positive benefits to individuals and the organisation provide tangible real value in today’s competitive marketplace.”


Join the global campaign to end gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work

Internationally the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership are running a 16 Days campaign and have created a Toolkit #ILOendGBV to demand an end to gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work. They are advocating for a strong new International Labor Organization (ILO) instrument to be adopted in the form of a convention in June 2019.



#ILOendGBV is an initiative of the 16 Days Campaign that aims to ensure that women’s voices and lived experiences are brought to bear on the ILO’s current discussions and will result in the adoption and implementation of a strong, legally-binding convention on gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work that not only takes into account existing international legal standards but strengthens them and fills crucial gaps. The ILO will make a decision during the next meeting of the International Labor Conference (ILC) in June 2019.

The toolkit offers a guide to understand the ILO’s proposed convention. It aims to demystify the ILO’s standard-setting process and provide information about the content of the instrument, as well as tools and resources to advocate with governments to support the adoption of the convention.

Discover more about why the 16 Days this year is a critical, timely opportunity to engage with the ILO at get involved in the campaign to end gender-based violence and harassment in the workplace.


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