Webinar: Domestic Violence During COVID-19: Supporting Your Employees


On 19 May 2020, the WE EMPOWER G7 team hosted "Domestic Violence During COVID-19: Supporting Your Employees" webinar. This webinar explored  what is the private sector's role in addressing domestic violence experienced by their employees working remotely from home in times of COVID-19. The panelists spoke about practical policies, practices and services that companies could develop, implement and practice to help eliminate domestic violence.







Lockdowns, social distancing and other restrictions have left millions of women and girls vulnerable to a growing shadow pandemic of domestic violence, cyberviolence and exploitative grooming of children who have limited access to help.

Even in normal times, an unacceptably high one-in-three women around the world have suffered domestic violence and 38 per cent of all murders of women are committed by intimate partners. With confinement, we have seen an increase of more than 30 per cent in calls to helplines in some countries as lockdowns for 4 billion people build pressure.

In France, reports of domestic violence have increased by 30% since the lockdown on 17 March. Increased cases of domestic violence and demand for emergency shelter have also been reported in Canada, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.Victims face limited access to protective services during periods of quarantine. The coronavirus crisis, which is expected to push the world economy into a recession, may also ultimately make it more difficult for victims to leave abusive relationships. This marks an urgent call for action for the private sector to leverage their existing resources and influence to keep women safe at home and safe at work.

The webinar will showcase business’ role in addressing domestic violence experienced by their employees working remotely from home in times of COVID-19. The panelists will speak about practical policies, practices and services that companies could develop, implement and practice to help eliminate domestic violence.



Welcome and Introduction (Diana Rusu, Policy Specialist, WE EMPOWER G7 Programme, UN Women)

Opening Remarks (Dan Seymour, Director, Strategic Partnerships Division, UN Women)


Domestic Violence During COVID-19 (a discussion with Kalliopi Mingeirou, Chief, Ending Violence against Women Section, UN Women and Jane Pillinger, Global Expert on Gender Equality and Gender-Based Violence at Work, Visiting Professor at the Department of Gender Studies, London School of Economics)


    Q&A session


Closing remarks (Anna Fälth, Manager WE EMPOWER Programme and Head of WEPs Secretariat at UN Women)



Dan Seymour is currently the Director for UN Women’s Strategic Partnerships Division. He previously served as UN Women’s Director of Humanitarian Action and Crisis Response Office and Deputy Director of Programmes and Deputy Chief of Staff/ Strategic Planning Advisor to the Executive Director. He began his career as Save the Children UK’s first Human Rights Officer. He has worked in government as an advisor on child rights to Robin Cook, the UK Foreign Secretary, with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Kosovo Mission as a human rights monitor and head of office, and as Save the Children Alliance Representative to the United Nations in New York. He joined the UN with UNICEF in 2002 working first in the Child Protection Section of Programme Division, then as Planning and Social Policy Officer in the Viet Nam Country Office, and finally as Chief of UNICEF’s Gender and Rights Unit. During that time, he was elected chair of the OECD/ DAC’s Human Rights Task Team. In 2010 he went to UN Women to support its establishment. He is a graduate of Oxford University with degrees in Political Science and Economics and Human Rights Law and Theory. Dan is a UK national with two daughters.

Kalliopi Mingeirou is currently the Chief of the Ending Violence against Women Section at UN-Women in New York. She has been leading global initiatives, including diverse inter-agency initiatives, on prevention of and responses to violence against women and girls in public and private spaces. She is a lawyer by training and holds an LL.M. on public international law. Prior to joining UN-Women, Ms. Mingeirou worked as a lawyer in Greece, and at the international level, she worked for UN agencies, as well as INGOs, in the areas of human rights, women’s human rights and refugee protection in several countries both in development and humanitarian settings

Jane Pillinger (Ph.D) has an academic and teaching background in social policy and currently works as an international expert on gender-based violence at work. She is senior visiting fellow at the Department of Social Policy and Criminology at the Open University, UK and in 2019 was visiting professor in Gender Studies at the London School of Economics. She is a former Specialist Advisor to the UK’s House of Commons Select Committee on Employment and has carried out research and expert advice with governments, social partners, companies and trade unions, European organisations and international organisations. She has specific expertise in developing policies and guidance on ending sexual harassment and domestic violence in the world of work and is currently working with the ILO, UN Women and several multi-national companies to this end. Jane has written several books and numerous articles on the issue, including the UN Women & ILO Handbook Addressing Violence and Harassment against Women in the World of Work. Jane lives in France.




Promoting Economic Empowerment of Women at Work through Responsible Business Conduct in G7 Countries (WE EMPOWER G7 Programme) is a programme funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by UN Women and the International Labour Organization (ILO). The WE EMPOWER Programme convene multistakeholder dialogues in the EU, Canada, Japan and the US to exchange knowledge, experiences, good practices and lessons learned in the context of the changing world of work.

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