Employees want to be more informed on appropriate responses to Domestic Violence and Abuse

Written on:
December 2, 2022
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Singapore’s first comprehensive study on the workplace impacts of Domestic Violence and Abuse (DVA) reveals that employees are keen to support colleagues experiencing or who have previously experienced DVA. However, only 1 in 10 are aware of the policies and resources their companies offer to support such individuals.

These results underscore the collective responsibility of the workplace in eradicating DVA. It further outlines the possible steps companies can take to develop a more empathetic work culture that supports all in the workplace.

In our latest research ‘Towards A Safe and Supportive Workplace’ by United Women Singapore (UWS), 1,000 personnel from the private sector shared their perceptions about the role the workplace plays in supporting victims and perpetrators affected by DVA. The study was carried out in partnership with consumer research company, Milieu Insight. 

The respondents surveyed recognised that DVA was not simply a personal issue, but also one that has an impact on the workplace. When asked how much of an impact either a victim or perpetrator of DVA could have on a company, 34% expressed it could have a huge impact on the business while 98% overall stated it could have a little to a huge impact overall.

Furthermore, when asked what kind of impact they believe cases of DVA could have on a company, the most common types included impact to the company’s reputation, decreased morale as well as decreased productivity.

They also believe that companies should be involved in cases of DVA that relate to their own employees. For example, 79% believe the company should step in to support victims, while 85% believe the company should be involved if an employee is identified as a perpetrator of DVA. These results represent the growing awareness about DVA in society.. 

Milieu Insight’s COO, Stephen Tracy said, “Based on our study, Singaporeans strongly support the idea that companies have a role to play when it comes to addressing issues of domestic violence and abuse (DVA). However, only 32% of the individuals we interviewed stated that they agree or strongly agree that they have the ability to recognize the signs of DVA, and only 1 in 2 indicated that they would know how to support a colleague who may be a victim. I think this strongly supports the need for companies to have the right resources and frameworks in place that equip employees with the knowledge needed to respond to cases of DVA.” This echoes the White Paper on Singapore Women’s Development unveiled earlier this year. Specifically, in relation to enhancing the protection for victim-survivors of family violence, these results engenders the workplace in creating a more inclusive environment that supports women in society. 

While employees are keen to support their colleagues experiencing DVA, many are still unaware of their role in intervening in such situations and the types of support offered by the company. 94% of the respondents indicated that they would likely respond to both situations whether their colleague was either the victim or perpetrator. However, only about 1 in 2 or fewer mentioned that they know how to respond accordingly. 

Other significant findings include a lower awareness of technological and financial forms of abuse. This is consistent with UWS’ previous research titled ‘Challenge the Apathy: Shedding Light on Domestic Abuse in Singapore’; which discovered that only 1 in 4 individuals considered hitting their spouse as physical abuse. This reinforces the urgent need to provide more education about DVA; specifically, developing an empathetic understanding of the victim’s experience.

“These findings shed light on the important role of the workplace in addressing DVA.  Organisations need to view DVA  not just as a personal issue, but also a personnel issue, as it impacts an organisation’s most important asset - their staff.  It is paramount that organisations begin reviewing and, subsequently, updating current channels of communication which inform their employees about the appropriate responses to DVA.” said Georgette Tan, President of United Women Singapore.

Training of these relevant stakeholders remains a pertinent solution; adopting a 3R (Recognise, Refer, Respond) framework equips employees to recognise signs of victimisation among their colleagues. “It’s critical that organisations focus on shifting the mindset from within. Efforts should seek to cultivate a spirit of allyship among employees, empowering them to become active by-standers in the workplace” she adds. These are crucial as it allows victims to confidently seek help and be directed to available organisational support by bystanders. 

To launch the research findings, a panel discussion will be held virtually on 25th November; in celebration of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The panel, moderated by Georgette Tan, will feature Stephen Tracy, Chief Operating Officer of Milieu Insight, Fathim Jumabhoy, Managing Partner at Herbert Smith Freehills. Details and sign ups for the event will be found at our social media platforms and website.

The GenSafe Workplaces programme was developed by United Women Singapore in 2020. The programme aims to advocate for personnel policies that provide a safe, inclusive and supportive world for everyone. 

Access the full research survey at

About United Women Singapore

United Women Singapore (UWS) is a local non-profit organisation with Institution of Public Character (IPC) status. It advances women’s empowerment and gender equality and builds a pipeline of women leaders and influencers in Singapore. The organisation works towards narrowing the gender equality gap through education and raising awareness and advocacy on issues such as anti-violence and women’s empowerment, with the support of key stakeholders including corporate partners, government agencies, academia, the diplomatic community, non-profit and community groups and the wider community.

About Milieu Insight

Milieu Insight is a consumer research and analytics company that connects businesses directly with their target audience for market research. The company collects consumer opinion data across a multitude of lifestyle topics and sectors through a proprietary mobile app known as Milieu Surveys. Milieu's customer platform, known as Canvas, offers businesses a wide range of tools for accessing, analysing, and visualising high-value and timely consumer opinion data to help power better decision-making and strategy. For more information about Milieu Insight visit:

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