Issue 2

Issue 2, February 2015


This newsletter is a vehicle for members of the Domestic Violence at Work Network to learn about each others' work and new developments in the area of addressing workplace domestic violence. Send us information about what you are doing. We will profile more members and their work in future issues.

Please feel free to share this newsletter with others.

In this Newsletter

  1. Canada Releases DV@Work Survey
  2. Turkish DV@Work Survey Makes Waves
  3. Feature Video: Canadian Labour Congress' "Domestic Violence@Work"
  4. An International Convention on Gender-Based Violence at Work?
  5. Member Profile: Melsa Ararat
  6. Member Profile: Nadine Wathen
  7. The first Asian domestic violence and work survey: The Philippines
  8. Feature Partner Website: TERRE DES FEMMES
  9. Connect with us on LinkedIn
  10. Update: How well have Australian businesses and employers implemented domestic violence clauses?
  11. Members and DV@Work in the News
  12. Callout: Share your News

Canada Releases DV @ Work Survey

The initial findings of the first Canadian national survey on domestic violence in the workplace were released in November 2014.  Over 8,000 workers completed the survey on their experiences of domestic violence and its impact on the workplace. The release garnered media attention from across the country, appearing in over a dozen news outlets.

The development and distribution of the survey was made possible by a partnership between Western University and the Canadian Labour Congress. Developed by Nadine Wathen, Jen MacGregor and Barb Macquarrie, the results suggest that approximately one-third of the respondents experienced domestic violence in their lifetime, and of those respondents, 82% reported that it negatively impacted their work. Over half of workers who experienced domestic violence reported that the abuse continued at the workplace in the form of abusive phone calls, stalking and harassment, and abusive e-mail messages. Clearly the magnitude of the problem is just starting to be realized. The hope is that the findings will lead to improvements in policy related to DV in the workplace, such as those achieved in Australia (e.g., paid leave for victims of DV). Jen MacGregor, Western University post-doctoral fellow, believes "the report is an important step in the right direction.”

The full report on the initial findings can be viewed here.

Turkish DV @ Work Survey Makes Waves

The release of Turkey’s domestic violence at work survey successfully grabbed headlines and public attention this past December. (Example Headline 1, Example Headline 2)

The 32-page report, authored by Melsa Ararat, Sevda Alkan, Mahmut Bayazıt, Ayşe Yüksel, and Pınar Budan, includes detailed data and commentary by many high profile figures.

“Women, regardless of their education and seniority in the business world, are repeatedly being subject to physical and emotional violence and due to cultural norms fear to talk about it and ask for help,” wrote Zahidul A. Huque, Representative in Turkey Country Director for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Ararat is pleased with the discourse the survey generated.

“This is a crucial step in creating an awareness that domestic violence affects professional working women in management roles,” said Ararat. “Our report is an exploration of the people who are hurt, and the impact of their pain on their professional career participation in the economy and businesses that employ them. But it’s more than that. This report sends a message. It says, ‘businesses have to recognize that gender equality at work is not possible as long as domestic violence continue to effect women - let’s open up a discussion, let’s understand how businesses can play a role to support and empower women ’. We’re very proud of this report, and grateful to everyone who was a part of its creation.”

Feature Video: Canadian Labour Congress’ “Domestic Violence @ Work”

An International Convention on Gender-Based Violence at Work?

A global coalition of trade unionists is piling on the pressure for governments and employers to come out in support of a new international Convention to stop gender-based violence (GBV) in the world of work. Read more here.

Member Profile: Melsa Ararat

Melsa Ararat  is an internationally recognized expert on corporate governance.  During her professional career, she held senior management and board positions within Philips Group in Asia Pacific, Japan and Europe. In 2003, she initiated the Corporate Governance Forum at Sabanci University and supported the Capital Markets Board of Turkey in drafting its Corporate Governance Guidelines. Currently she is the director of the Forum and a Sabanci School of Management professor.  The Forum is the leading research and advocacy center on governance and sustainability issues. Melsa’s research focuses on corporate governance of controlled firms.

DV@Work Network head Barb MacQuarrie believes that Melsa adds a special skillset and presence to the network, “Melsa is a strong advocate for including Turkey’s voice in the discussion and she reminds us that we need to be mindful of the needs and perspectives of countries from the South. She’s also got a unique professional management background that is much-needed in women’s issues circles. We are so lucky to have Melsa as part of the team.”

Melsa is a member of ICGN’s Awards and Business Ethics Committees. She is an advisor to Carbon Disclosure Project and the director of its Turkey operation, a member of the advisory board of Climate Bonds Initiative and a founder of Global Board Ready Women Project. 

She is the author of Sustainable Investment in Turkey 2010 report published by IFC, and a co-author of the above mentioned report on domestic violence at work in Turkey.

Melsa has published extensively and quoted by Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Economist, and Reuters and frequently by the daily papers in Turkey. She holds an MSc degree in Chemical Engineering and PhD in Management.

Member Profile: Nadine Wathen

Nadine Wathen has been a family violence researcher for over 15 years. As an associate professor in the Faculty of Information & Media Studies at Western University, Founding Coordinator of its Joint Graduate Program in Health Information Science, and a Western Faculty Scholar, Nadine works to develop better evidence to support the health sector response to family violence. Motivated by principles of social justice, she seeks to find better ways to support women and children exposed to violence and to address the systemic and social structures that perpetuate violence.

Nadine is strongly committed to mobilizing new research evidence by developing and testing processes of knowledge translation and exchange.  Her research is aligned to the health sector primarily as it is a key place where women and children can seek help. Nadine also believes that the workplace is an important venue to disrupt the patterns of violence that have an impact for workers in terms of stress, productivity and economic impact.

Her role as Research Lead of the DV @ Work Network, and the Canadian DV @ Work survey, is driven by its commitment to action-oriented research, and the need to develop a robust evidence base to support better practices and policies in Canadian workplaces to prevent violence and its consequences.

Additionally, Nadine is a co-principal investigator of the Preventing Violence Across the Lifespan Research Network. She holds a Ph.D. in Library and Information Sciences from Western University.

The first Asian domestic violence and work survey: The Philippines

The latest national survey on the impacts of domestic violence in the workplace is being developed in the Philippines between the International Trade Union Confederation Asia-Pacific (ITUC A-P), the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and the Gendered Violence Research Network University of New South Wales (GVRN UNSW).

This initiative was a product of the sharing of knowledge between the Australian Council of Trade Unions and their co-unionists in the ITUC-AP and will be the first Asian based survey on the issue. In order to reflect the industrial and cultural context, I spent four days in Manila planning the survey questions, awareness training and distribution with our union partners and a number of government agencies.  What is new in this survey are the technical challenges of delivering an online survey to union members in a country with limited access; the inclusion of a section specifically for domestic workers; and an emphasis on awareness of and access to existing labour rights.

Participating unions will assist members with internet access and UNSW will test mobile (cell phone) surveys. With the employer's home as place of work, and large numbers of Filipina women employed as domestic workers, the survey will enquire into levels of violence experienced by these workers, and their knowledge and access to excellent protections under the Philippines domestic workers legislation. Similarly, the Philippine Anti-VAW and their Children Act (2004) was a trail blazer providing up to ten days paid domestic violence leave and protection from adverse action  against workers experiencing domestic violence. Questions about the awareness and implementation of the legal rights for workers will be in the survey.

The TUCP will provide a round of training for union officials and delegates in early 2015 on the survey an its background. Distribution is planned for March/April with findings and the report by the end of June.

Feature Partner Website: TERRE DES FEMMES

TERRE DES FEMMES (TDF) is a German non-profit women’s rights organisation committed to ensuring that girls and women can live a free, safe, and self-determined life while holding equal and inalienable rights regarding all aspects of life.

Based in Berlin, TDF maintains a nation-wide body of support of more than 3,500 members and patrons, 25 local groups, and 4 working groups at present.

TERRE DES FEMMES advises companies and managements in the implementation of a workplace policy and in the development of appropriate measures against domestic violence.

English website pages can be viewed HERE and HERE.

Connect with us on LinkedIn

Click here to join our LinkedIn community

Update: How well have Australian businesses and employers implemented domestic violence clauses?

In less than four years since the negotiation of the first domestic violence clause in an enterprise agreement in Australia, clauses have been included in over 450 other agreements (June 2014) across such diverse industries as banking, airlines, retail chains, public transport, local government, docks, social clubs, universities and the health sector. The clauses have also been extended to government employees in all but two states (though Victoria should come into line after the recent loss of government after only one term by the conservative parties).

The 'model' domestic violence clause has seven good practice principles: additional paid leave, confidentiality, safety planning, referral to dv experts, training for key personnel, access to flexible work arrangements, and no adverse action. To assess the implementation of domestic violence clauses into the Australian workplace, the Gendered Violence Research Network at UNSW will survey government departments and the 450 plus organisations using the seven principles as a template. Questions will also be asked about costs of implementation.

The survey should be distributed in early 2015 with results and report available by the end of June 2015.

Members and DV @ Work in the News

  1. Domestic violence follows victims to work, survey finds (Canada - Toronto Star, Nov 27)

  2. Domestic violence follows victims to the workplace, study finds (Canada - Global News, Nov 27)
  3. Stark revelations from workplace labour survey on domestic violence (Canada - Rabble, Dec 4)
  4. The impact of domestic violence on the workplace (Canada - The Londoner, Nov 27)
  5. Western University researchers reveal study on domestic violence at work (Canada - CTV, Nov 27)
  6. Are your staff domestic violence victims? (Australia - The Age, Jan 21)
  7. Telstra begins offering staff domestic violence leave (Australia - Smart Company, Jan 14)

  8. Telstra’s bold policy to support victims of domestic violence (Australian - Women’s Agenda, Jan 14)

  9. Domestic violence toolkit raises awareness, provides resources to employers (UK - Tribune, Jan 8)

  10. Basketball association joins anti-domestic violence effort (US - Pantagraph, Jan 1)

  11. Workplace toolkit launched to support victims of domestic violence (UK - Personnel Today, Dec 22)

  12. The Women Battling an Islamist Strongman (Turkey - The Daily Beast, Dec 22)

  13. Thanks to the strong women in Turkey's economy… (Turkey - Hurriyet Daily News, Dec 16)

Callout: Share Your News

Do you have news relating to domestic violence and the workplace? If so, share it with us!  Send us news about research, local events and issues, trends and breakthroughs.  We also want to hear ideas for upcoming newsletters. Share your interests and concerns. Send us news links, website links, online videos, and photos.  And please feel free to share this newsletter with anyone you think might be interested.

Contact Info

While DV @ Work is developing its website, you can send information or inquiries to

Thank you,

Barb MacQuarrie
Community Director, Centre for Research & Education on Violence against Women & Children
Room 1118, 1137 Western Road
London, ON N6H 1X7
Tel. 519.661.4023