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From: The Socialist issue 324, 22 November 2003: Bush out of Britain - Troops out of Iraq

Search site for keywords: Domestic violence - Trade union - Unions - Women - Violence against women

Domestic Violence Is A Trade Union Issue

International Day Against Violence Against Women is on 25 November. The Campaign Against Domestic Violence (CADV), which has the support of hundreds of trade union branches as well as the backing of national unions, has been campaigning for over ten years for domestic violence to be considered a trade union issue.

Christine Thomas, CADV national secretary

As a result of our work and that of other organisations, more and more unions now have a national policy on domestic violence.

51% of 404 individuals who responded to a recent TUC survey said that they had experienced physical or emotional domestic abuse at some time. The majority (88%) were women. 47% said that it had affected their ability to do their job and more than half said that they needed to take time off work as a result.

Two-thirds of those who had suffered domestic violence had not told the employer about it. Only 12% of union members replying to the survey said that they knew their employer had a policy on domestic violence.

22% of those who told their employer about the abuse they were experiencing found them unhelpful. One was threatened with disciplinary action for taking time off sick, another was refused time off to find new accommodation and another said that she had been sacked for turning up to work with injuries to her face and head.

A lot has been achieved in raising awareness in the workplace about domestic violence over the last few years but there is clearly still a long way to go. This survey shows how important it is for unions not just to get workplace domestic policies agreed on paper, but to actively campaign for these to be implemented in practice.

See the CADV website:

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