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By 11 March 2019 | Categories: news

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With Women’s Day taking place on Friday, the latest announcement from Vodacom is particularly timely, as the company has unveiled a new global policy that addresses gender based domestic violence and abuse.   

More particularly, the new policy includes an allocation of 10 days fully-paid leave to employees who are victims of vioence and makes resources such as free access to the company’s Employee Assistance Program available.

The support provided by the new policy includes an allocation of 10 days fully-paid leave and makes resources such as free access to the company’s Employee Assistance Program. The latter offers counselling and life management tools – as well as the 24-hour victim support and counselling call centre, the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Command Centre.

In addition to this, Vodacom pledged that it will provide staff training and awareness on domestic violence and abuse and will offer new safety measures to victims at work, which could include location or schedule transfers and a change of work patterns and contact details where required.

While the name domestic violence suggests abusive behaviour begins at home, the company noted that its impact doesn’t end there, spilling over into the workplace.  

It elaborated that abusers will often try to prevent victims from getting to work, cause them to be late or miss work, and can excessively call, e-mail or text victims while they are at work. This can not only negatively affect them both physically and emotionally, but can also negatively affect their performance causing victims to lose their jobs – a major source of independence and freedom away from their abusers – and can make victims feel as if they have nowhere to turn to.

“Through this policy, Vodacom will be able to make sure that our workplace can be a safe haven to those women and men who are faced with the struggles of a violent or abusive home environment,” commented Matimba Mbungela, the chief human resources officer for Vodacom Group.

“It is also one of the ways that Vodacom is working to level the playing field in what is a particularly male-dominated industry by lessening the factors preventing women from effectively participating in the workplace,” he continued.

The new policy complements another initiative aimed at addressing domestic violence by Vodacom, in partnership with the Department of Social Development, that of the national GBV Command Centre. This operates seven days a week and 24 hours a  day,  employing professional social workers to support survivors of abuse.

“Gender-based violence is a societal challenge that requires collaboration from all South Africans, and Africans. Whether young or old, men and women, whatever race, rank, age, gender or social class, and more especially in the digital age, gender-based violence knows no borders. We will continue to champion the fight against gender based violence in order to shine a light on those who have long been left to be and feel invisible,” concluded Takalani Netshitenzhe, the chief corporate affairs officer for Vodacom Group.

The announcement comes just a few months after Vodacom's Walk for Good event, which was similarly aimed at raising awareness of the problem of gender based and domestic violence. 

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