Employers must support sufferers of domestic abuse

Vodafone leading by example with domestic violence toolkit for employers.

Employers can and should do more to support sufferers of domestic violence, said Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read in a speech given to an online audience.

Hosted by EIDA, the Employers Initiative on Domestic Abuse, Read noted the worldwide increase in domestic abuse as the coronavirus crisis makes it more difficult for people to escape from their abusers – a ‘shadow pandemic’. But Read also emphasised the role that employers can play in aiding employees affected by domestic violence.

Read highlighted Vodafone Group’s domestic abuse policy, applicable to all 25 countries where the company operates, offering specialist support to employees affected by abuse as well as 10 days of additional paid leave if needed.

The company also has a domestic violence toolkit, so managers know how to recognise signs of abuse and what steps to take next. Given the impact of domestic abuse on employees’ self-esteem, productivity and career progression, Read highlighted that the toolkit is available online for other employers to use.

Read told the audience: “by working together, we can send out the message that domestic abuse is something we can all help tackle. That we can all put in place measures – within our organisations, and in society as a whole – that make a difference”.

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As well raising awareness of domestic abuse among other business leaders, Nick Read also highlighted the work that Vodafone has done to assist members of the public affected by domestic abuse.

Vodafone, alongside charity Hestia, helped develop the Bright Sky smartphone app which is designed to discreetly provide information and advice to sufferers and survivors. To date, Bright Sky has been downloaded 56,000 times in the UK – although worryingly, weekly downloads of the app increased significantly during the spring 2020 coronavirus lockdown.

Vodafone is a founding member of EIDA’s Beacon programme, which aims to increase employers’ awareness of domestic abuse and to encourage them to take action.

Bright Sky can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.

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