The COVID-19 Shadow Pandemic: Domestic Violence in the World of Work - A Call to Action for the Private Sector
The unprecedented increase in domestic violence since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic marks an urgent call for action for the private sector to leverage their existing resources and influence to keep women safeat home and safe at work. Employers have a ‘duty of care’ to their employees working remotely from home and are in a good position to support those who may be affected by domestic violence. Many employers recognize their role and have been doing their part prior to and during COVID-19, and the importance of creating a safe and supportive working environment for survivors of domestic violence. An important element of this, reflected in the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) framework, is the broader promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment in the world of work.
This brief explains how are companies responding to the problem during the COVID-19 crisis and provides recommendations for companies on what are the immediate and long-term measures could be taken. Early intervention is essential to enable a survivor to stay in her job and to live independently. This includes carrying out prevention, risk assessments and safety planning in the workplace; offering information and workplace support to survivors of domestic violence; ensuring that managers recognize the signs of violence against women and provide workplace supports such as paid leave and security measures; creating a workplace culture where survivors can disclose domestic violence and stay safely in their jobs; and engaging in wider corporate awareness raising, funding and influence to ensure services meet the needs of survivors of domestic violence.