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Domestic violence is a workplace issue and a men’s issue, unions tell employers

A new report calls on transport employers to do more to tackle domestic violence amongst its predominantly male staff with key recommendations for how to do this.

The report details how workplaces are at greater risk of accidents, injuries and fatalities when men engage in domestic violence at work.

The report was produced by the International Transport Workers’ Federation and the Centre for Research & Education on Violence Against Women & Children, using research based on with 116 male workers who were identified by counselling centres and workplace management as having perpetrated violence against their intimate partners.

Workplaces and employers must do more to tackle domestic violence, according to a new report from the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

It is usually the impacts on survivors which are the focus of studies on domestic violence, but the report, titled Shifting the focus: impacts on workplaces when men engage in domestic violence, evidences that domestic violence perpetration has a major impact on the safety and productivity of workplaces.

This report launched on the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women details the impacts of domestic violence on workplaces in Maharashtra, India, and outlines eight core recommendations for employers to create safer workplaces. Recommendations include conducting domestic violence risk assessments and implementing reporting processes and training infrastructure.

“In order to eliminate domestic violence, we must shift the focus. Our society focuses on the impacts of domestic violence on women, as if this is solely a women’s issue,” said ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton. “But this is fundamentally flawed. Domestic violence is predominantly perpetrated by men, and if we’re serious about tackling domestic violence we must shift the focus to men changing their behaviour, and the negative impact of their abuse particularly in workplaces.”

“From the workplace perspective, this report shows the detrimental impact that domestic violence perpetration has on the workplace from increased risk of accidents, injuries, and fatalities to reduced productivity. This puts responsibility on employers to take action and lead the way by developing and supporting policies and procedures that create safer workplaces, and critically engage men in conversation about domestic violence prevention and intervention,” said Cotton.

Too often, domestic violence is dismissed as a private matter, but we can now show conclusively that employers have significant liability – as well as a serious moral responsibility – to do more to end domestic violence amongst their workforce.

“Attracting and retaining women is a challenge in the transport industry. Transport is vital to women’s lives yet remains a male-dominated industry where women are grossly underrepresented and too often the victims of violence and harassment,” said Diana Holland, ITF Women Transport Workers’ Committee Chair.

“Covid-19 has further exacerbated the shadow pandemic of violence against women, so right now it’s crucial that all employers read this report and implement its recommendations so that every transport worker is safe. It’s also a reminder to governments that they too can play their role in eradicating violence and harassment in the world of work and join the growing list of countries ratifying the C190 Convention on violence and harassment,” said Holland.


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