New research shows how domestic violence and abuse affects UK workplace

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More than half a million (574,000) working women in the UK have experienced domestic violence and abuse in the past 12 months, according to a new international study from KPMG commissioned by Vodafone.

Global figures reveal 80 million working women across 107 countries – a figure equating to approximately 15% of the female workforce – have also experienced domestic violence in this period.

The report – published on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – highlights the damaging impact of domestic abuse on careers and businesses globally. More than one third (38%) of victims surveyed said they suffered from reduced productivity and 22% said they sometimes stopped going to work and/or would take days off.

KPMG analysis of records on domestic violence and abuse victims also revealed that the length of unplanned leave averages 10.1 days per woman.

As a result of work absences related to abuse, in the nine countries covered by Vodafone’s survey, an estimated £1.6bn in economic output is lost globally each year. Four million women globally have missed out on a promotion – suffering a related annual average salary loss of £2,240 per woman. This equates to approximately £10bn in potential earnings lost each year.

UK findings from KPMG for Vodafone reveal:

•In the UK, about 122,000 working women have taken time off work because of domestic abuse in the past year.
•£316m in economic output is lost by UK businesses each year as a result of work absences relates to abuse.
•In the UK, the potential loss of earnings per woman as a result of abuse having negative impacts on career progression is about £5,800 each year.

Helen Lamprell, General Counsel and External Affairs Director and Trustee of the Vodafone UK Foundation said: “Domestic abuse has such a huge effect on the individual, their family and friends and a vast financial impact to both the individual and the UK economy.

“Supporting and providing resources for these vulnerable people can really be lifesaving – that is why the Vodafone Foundation is committed to providing programmes such as TecSOS and our Bright Sky app to offer 24/7 support to the thousands of people suffering with domestic violence or abuse.”

Announced earlier this year Vodafone has implemented a new HR [human resources] policy specifically for victims of domestic violence and abuse in 25 of its operating companies. Employees globally will now have access to support and specialist counselling, as well as up to 10 days additional paid leave in all countries.

Apps against Abuse

Bright Sky, created by the Vodafone Foundation working in partnership with the UK-based crisis support charity Hestia, enables users to locate their nearest support services by searching their area, postcode or current location.

A short questionnaire also helps users assess the safety of a relationship and provides information about different forms of abuse, the types of support available, steps to consider if leaving an abusive relationship, and how to help a friend affected by domestic abuse.

As well as giving help and advice, the Bright Sky app is designed to log incidents of domestic abuse without any content being saved on the device itself. It enables users to record incidents in a secure digital journal, using a text, audio, video or photo function. Evidence collated through this function will enable police to intervene and can help secure prosecutions.

Since launching in the UK, Bright Sky has been downloaded almost 25,000 times. The international roll-out of Bright Sky builds on more than a decade’s work by the Vodafone Foundation to develop mobile services to support victims of domestic violence and abuse. Close to a million people have benefited from the services, including: the TecSOS technology, which has helped more than 100,000 high-risk survivors of domestic violence in five countries; Easy Rescue, which has supported more than 300,000 women in Turkey; and gender based violence hotlines in South Africa and Kenya, which have connected over 500,000 victims to help during crisis.

The study has been released as the Vodafone Foundation rolls out Bright Sky and other “apps against abuse” to nine further countries offering information, advice and links to support services to people affected. Bright Sky, which launched in the UK in 2018, is now live in Ireland and will soon be available in the Czech Republic and South Africa. Italy, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Egypt, Hungary, Albania will follow by the end of 2020.


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