25 November 2021
Recognising International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
Today we recognise International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The UN Women theme for this year is 'Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!'
Worldwide, 1 in 3 women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by an intimate partner.
'A new report from UN Women, based on data from 13 countries since the pandemic, shows that 2 in 3 women reported that they or a woman they know experienced some form of violence and are more likely to face food insecurity. Only 1 in 10 women said that victims would go to the police for help.'
– Source: '16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence 2021' (article)
Gender-based violence can and must be prevented. Stopping this violence starts with believing survivors, adopting comprehensive and inclusive approaches that tackle the root causes, transform harmful social norms, and empower women and girls.
Employers and workplaces also have an important role to play in creating psychologically safe spaces to work and thrive in.
Fay Calderone, Employment & Workplace Relations Partner said, 'Disrespect towards women at work can occur within the ordinary, everyday occurrences. The behaviour can be overt and include sexual harassment or include subtly dismissive comments. We must address the systemic cultural drivers that perpetuate dysfunction every day. Unchecked, this dark stain on our society pervasively permeates.
'The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the devastating effects of family violence towards women. Employers have an essential role in maintaining the safety of employees who may be victims of domestic violence. Employers can affect meaningful changes by offering paid leave (beyond the unpaid minimum entitlements have under the legislation), financial assistance, emergency response plans and access to critical trauma-informed support services to victims to help them escape violence and aid their recovery.'
Hall & Wilcox recognises the importance of providing legal support to organisations working with victim-survivors of domestic and family violence to access legal services. Nathan Kennedy, Partner & Head of Pro Bono and Community said, ‘Domestic Violence New South Wales (DVNSW), the peak body for specialist domestic and family violence services in New South Wales is an important pro bono partner and also a charity partner on our workplace giving platform. Our people are able to make a difference with their legal expertise, including in assisting in important law reform, and through financial contribution to much-needed services.’