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International research shows workplace impacts of domestic abuse

25 Nov 2019Empowering People
4 minute read

Eighty million working women across 107 countries - a figure equating to approximately 15% of the female workforce - have experienced domestic violence and abuse in the past 12 months, according to a new independent international study from KPMG commissioned by Vodafone.*

abuse 1

The report - published ahead of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women - reveals the damaging impact of domestic abuse on careers and businesses globally. More than one third (38%) of victims surveyed said they suffered from reduced productivity, and 22% said they sometimes stopped going to work and/or would take days off.** Analysis of existing literature on domestic violence and abuse victims also revealed that the length of unplanned leave averages at 10.1 days per woman.***

As a result of work absences related to abuse, in the nine countries covered by Vodafone’s survey****, an estimated $2.1 billion in economic output is lost each year. Four million women also missed out on a promotion as a result of domestic violence and abuse - suffering a related annual average salary loss of $2,900 per woman. This equates to approximately $13 billion in total potential earnings lost each year across those nine countries.

The study has been released as the Vodafone Foundation rolls out Bright Sky and other ‘apps against abuse’ to nine further countries offering information, advice and links to support services to people affected. Bright Sky, which launched in the UK in 2018, is now live in Ireland and will soon be available in the Czech Republic and South Africa. Italy, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Egypt, Hungary, Albania will follow by the end of 2020.

“Domestic abuse has a devastating impact on victims and society as today’s economic impact data clearly demonstrates,” said Leanne Wood, Chief Human Resources Officer at Vodafone and Trustee of the Vodafone Foundation.

“At Vodafone we offer paid safe leave, giving employees a chance to seek professional help during work hours. Bright Sky and other apps against abuse show how technology for good can reach millions of people around the globe offering localised help and advice.”

Apps against abuse

Bright Sky, created by the Vodafone Foundation working in partnership with the UK-based crisis support charity Hestia, enables users to locate their nearest support services by searching their area, postcode or current location. A short questionnaire also helps users assess the safety of a relationship and provides information about different forms of abuse, the types of support available, steps to consider if leaving an abusive relationship and how to help a friend affected by domestic abuse.

As well as giving help and advice, the Bright Sky app is designed to log incidents of domestic abuse without any content being saved on the device itself. It enables users to record incidents in a secure digital journal, using a text, audio, video or photo function. Evidence collated through this function will enable police to intervene and can help secure prosecutions.

Since launching in the UK, Bright Sky has been downloaded almost 25,000 times. The international rollout of Bright Sky builds on more than a decade’s work by the Vodafone Foundation to develop mobile services to support victims of domestic violence and abuse. Close to a million people have benefitted from the services, including: the TecSOS technology, which has helped more 100,000 high-risk survivors of domestic violence in five countries; Easy Rescue, which has supported over 300,000 women in Turkey; and gender based violence hotlines in South Africa and Kenya, which have connected over 500,000 victims to help during crisis.


* From a KPMG report commissioned by Vodafone looking at the impact of domestic violence and abuse in the workplace. This statistic covers 107 countries based on data from the United Nations (UN) and International Labour Organisation (ILO).

** From a KPMG report commissioned by Vodafone looking at the impact of domestic violence and abuse in the workplace. Due to data availability, the KPMG analysis primarily focuses on domestic violence and abuse against women. Analysis of the workplace impacts of domestic violence and abuse was conducted for nine countries: UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, India and Kenya.

*** Sources include:

  • Center for Domestic Violence Prevention (2013) Economic costs of domestic violence in Uganda. Available at:
  • Duvvery et al (2012) Estimating the costs of domestic violence against women in Vietnam
  • KPMG (2016) The Cost of Violence Against Women and Their Children in Australia
  • Zhang, T., Hoddenbagh, J. McDonald, S., & Scrim, K. (2012) An Estimation of the Economic Impact of Spousal Violence in Canada. Ottawa, Department of Justice, Research and Statistics Division.

**** Opinium survey commissioned by Vodafone Foundation on the workplace impacts of domestic violence and abuse, conducted in nine countries: UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, India and Kenya in 2019.

  • COVID-19
  • Empowering People
  • Vodafone Foundation

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