Business world’s help against domestic violence sought

Business world’s help against domestic violence sought

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Business world’s help against domestic violence sought

Melsa Ararat from Sabancı University and Dutch Consul General Robert Schuddeboom pose after the meeting.

Operating from the starting point that the measures taken by the state are not enough to fight domestic violence, Sabancı University has launched a project to seek the involvement of the business community to tackle the problem.

“The business world is affected by domestic violence even if it is not aware of it,” said Melsa Ararat, the director of the university’s Corporate Governance Forum of Turkey.

The project, supported by the Dutch Consulate, aims to raise awareness that, along with its many other negative effects, violence against women affects efficiency in the work place. However, according to Ararat, earlier contacts made with the human resources departments of a number of companies show that domestic violence remains something of a taboo in the work place. She said that as employees’ working hours are rarely limited by their official work hours, and as employers’ ethical codes cover their employees’ private lives, it is the responsibility of companies to protect their workers outside the workplace. “Men usually know how to deal with the state or police authorities when it comes to domestic violence. But they would not know how to deal with companies if they were to stand behind the women,” said Ararat, adding that research showed that support from companies could serve as a deterrence.

The first step of the project involves a research project on the best examples both in Turkey and the world regarding practices endorsed by companies to fight violence against women. A survey will also be conducted in order to determine the effects of domestic violence in the work place. In the third phase, by 2015, project managers are hoping to work together with Turkish companies in order for them to endorse best practices.

“Violence against women is a global phenomenon. It is not a Muslim thing or a Christian thing,” said Dutch Consul General Robert Schuddeboom. It is not enough to be aware of the problem, but there is a need to find creative ways to solve the problem, he added.