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 to action for the private sector to leverage their existing resources and influence to keep women safe at 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 companies are responding to the problem during the COVID-19 pandemic and provides recommendations on the measures that could be taken. Early intervention is critical to enable a survivor to stay in her job. This includes:

  • carrying out prevention, risk assessments and safety planning;
  • offering support;
  • ensuring that managers recognize signs of violence;
  • creating a workplace culture where survivors can disclose violence and stay safely in their jobs; and
  • engaging in wider corporate awareness raising.

This brief is part of the “EVAW COVID-19 briefs” series.

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Bibliographic information

Subject area(s): Businesses and foundationsCOVID-19Domestic violence/interpersonal violenceEnding violence against women and girlsHealthPartnershipsSexual harassment

Resource type: Briefs

Series: EVAW COVID-19 briefs

UN Women office involved in publication: UN Women Headquarters

Publication year: 2020

Number of pages: 10

Publishing entities: International Labour Organization (ILO)United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)