The AFL-CIO has compiled a list of resources for vulnerable working people who may be experiencing domestic violence, or know someone who is, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
As our sisters from the Canadian Labor Congress note: “[t]he recommendation that people stay in their homes, along with added financial pressure and stress, can elevate the risk of violence and further entrenches isolation, which increases opportunities for abusers to exert power and control.” Please see below the AFL-CIO’s list of resources:
If you are experiencing domestic and/or intimate partner violence, you deserve safety and respect. Please consider reaching out to a local women’s shelter or the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Whether or not you feel able to leave your current situation, they can help you develop a safety plan and think through your options. Everyone deserves support and compassion during this difficult time. https://www.thehotline.org/
The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline offers confidential support and local resources for healing and recovery if you have been sexually assaulted. Sexual assault means any undesired contact. https://www.rainn.org/about-national-sexual-assault-telephone-hotline
Futures Without Violence has a comprehensive list of resources, including advice on creating safety plans, access to emergency housing and other support and guidance. https://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/get-updates-information-covid-19/
Futures Without Violence also produced this site aimed specifically at the workplace: https://www.workplacesrespond.org/page/covid19supportingworkers/
Some states have specific protections that allow workers to take paid-time off from work for reasons related to domestic violence, such as obtaining child custody, getting a restraining order or securing new housing. If you belong to a union, you can talk to your union representative about your leave options and how to develop a safety plan while you are at work. You can find out whether you live somewhere with those provisions here: https://www.abetterbalance.org/paid-sick-time-laws/search/?questions=3
If you are concerned about a co-worker, the National Domestic Violence Hotline also has specific recommendations for how to reach out and offer support if you feel secure doing so (scroll to the bottom of the page in the link). Physical distancing calls for more social solidarity. https://www.thehotline.org/help/help-for-friends-and-family/
If you are a union representative, you can help member survivors develop a workplace safety plan and access support, including paid leave, employee assistance programs and other resources. Many survivors of domestic and/or intimate partner violence face retaliation at work, so be prepared to ensure their rights are respected. You can help them advocate for reasonable accommodations, such as shift changes, temporary relocation to different work areas or worksites or increased security measures.
You can work with your employer to develop better policies to protect members. Workplaces Respond has resources that include best practices for workplace policies: https://www.workplacesrespond.org/
Workplaces Respond also has guidance for union representatives who are in the difficult situation of responding when members are perpetrators of domestic violence, perhaps even on the same worksite as their victim.
Unions around the world are demanding measures to protect workers who experience domestic and intimate partner violence. In France, the General Confederation of Workers (CGT) is demanding that survivors be protected against layoffs and negotiating protection measures with employers. In South Africa, unions are demanding more mobile clinics to address gender-based violence along with COVID-19. The Solidarity Center has more here: https://www.solidaritycenter.org/women-their-unions-stand-strong-during-covid-19/?mc_cid=5970689a07&mc_eid=31b1b58756