GBV: Private sector has key role to play
Durban -Violence against women and children in South Africa needs urgent attention, and the private sector has a key role to play.
Senior Researcher at the Institute for Security Studies Thandi van Heyningen said several lessons could be taken from businesses that have successfully implemented responses to violence against women that invest in the health and welfare of their employees.
"The creation and protection of employment opportunities for women act as a social protection strategy to combat domestic violence.Companies can also provide their employees who have experienced violence with access to resources either directly or through referral to service providers. Community-based programmes to prevent domestic violence have mostly excluded those who are working, especially in low-skilled or unskilled positions. This is because their long work hours and inability to take time off work make attending sessions difficult," said van Heyningen.
She said underlying issues contributing to domestic violence were gender inequality, alcohol abuse which were compounded by rising unemployment and poverty.
"Violence at home also affects the workplace. It is directly linked to increased absenteeism, reduced productivity, job losses and lost opportunities for career progression. Violence in the family has long-term negative repercussions for children who witness it, or who are direct victims themselves," she said.
She explained that the impact on the future labour force is felt through reduced learning opportunities, increased risks of trauma, poor mental health and a higher risk of experiencing abuse or perpetrating abuse later on.
"Domestic violence is directly linked to absenteeism, reduced productivity and job losses.There is scope for workplaces to offer on-site violence prevention interventions as part of employee assistance programmes during working hours. These could cover developing life skills, improving communication, teaching healthy conflict resolution skills and self-care, as well as techniques for emotional regulation".