(25 November 2021) The United Nations’ Day for the elimination of violence against women marks the urgent need to address gender-based violence in all its forms and manifestations. When it comes to the workplace, in a context of widespread income inequalities, under-resourced public services and a climate of mistrust in public institutions, gender-based violence from third parties against workers is an alarming issue.
With violence episodes on the rise, the need for an effective zero-tolerance policy towards workplace violence becomes ever more pressing. Yet, there is much room to build on better prevention and address the lack of integration of gender-based violence in social partners’ policies.
In this regard, the European Commission’s initiative for a directive on preventing and combating gender-based violence could be a powerful drive for improvement. Announced in the Occupational Health and Safety framework, the pending directive is a concrete opportunity to shape a common coherent approach to bridge national differences and call the necessary attention to the issue of third-party violence at work.
The workplace is not only a space in which violence can occur. It can also be a space which offers protection and support for victims of violence, including domestic violence. In light of ensuring that work is a safe and protective space, the involvement of social partners is crucial to address the multifaceted implications of violence across settings and sectors. In both design and implementation of policies, social partners’ involvement is necessary to ensure that a health and safety perspective is taken into account.