Enabling employees to fulfill their potential in a safe and supportive environment
Vodafone Foundation commissioned research, carried out in 2019, revealing that more than 1 in 3 (37%) of working people surveyed across multiple industries and at varying levels of seniority have experienced domestic abuse. The research looked into the impact of domestic abuse on work-life and career experience and how victims seek support at work
What did you want to achieve?
With an estimated one in three women and one in six men experiencing abuse in their lifetime, this issue affects people throughout society. Vodafone recognises our role as a global business to be proactive in making a difference, enabling our employees to fulfil their potential in a safe and supportive environment.
What did you do?
The Vodafone Foundation research informed Vodafone’s approach to supporting employees. In 2019, Vodafone launched a new global policy, specifically designed to support victims of domestic violence and abuse in the workplace. The policy provides employees with support, specialist counselling, and ten days additional paid leave. Specialist training has been provided to HR and managers to help them support employees experiencing domestic violence or abuse, including how they can assist them in seeking help. To support victims in a remote working environment, managers are provided remote learning on how to support victims, access to the policy and information to refer victims to helplines and support organisations. Virtual learning is delivered through webinars and podcasts to continually help managers to support victims through the Recognise, Respond and Refer model in a remote working environment. In 2019, Vodafone published a guide for employers who want to adopt similar policies and support victims in the workplace. This has been updated with guidance on how managers can support victims in a remote work environment. This will support other employers who want to adopt policies to support victims in the workplace.
Vodafone Foundation has continued the international expansion of Bright Sky – a free app that connects victims to advice and support services. The app also contains a short questionnaire to help 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.
What are the results so far?
Over the past ten years, the Vodafone Foundation has connected more than 700,000 people affected by domestic abuse to help and advice.
One example, the TecSOS device (developed in partnership with the Red Cross, TecSOS Foundation and Thames Valley Partnership) provides highrisk survivors of domestic violence with enhanced access to the Police at the press of a button. Used by more than 100,000 people to date, TecSOS has been credited with enabling lifesaving interventions by the Police, as well as significantly enhancing the user’s sense of safety and security.
What have you learned?
Our research helped us understand how domestic violence and abuse can impact victims in their workplace. It impacts productivity, morale, wellbeing and limits a victim’s full participation in work.
We learned that employers can play an important role in helping victims in the workplace through policy, training and supporting technology combined with inclusive leadership and raising awareness about domestic violence and abuse.