Press Release | 25 Nov 2019

New research shows how domestic violence and abuse affects UK workplace

KPMG study for Vodafone suggests more than half a million working women in the UK have experienced domestic violence and abuse in the past 12 months

  • The potential loss of earnings per woman in the UK as a result of abuse having negative impacts on career progression is estimated to be £5,800 each year.
  • £316m in economic output is lost by UK businesses each year as a result of work absences related to domestic abuse.
  • Across nine countries, an estimated £10bn a year is lost in potential earnings for victims of domestic abuse across the working population, study reveals.
  • Vodafone HR policy offers all employees who are victims of domestic violence specialist support as well as up to 10 days additional paid leave in all countries.

LONDON, 25th November 2019. More than half a million (574,000) working women in the UK have experienced domestic violence and abuse in the past 12 months, according to a new international study from KPMG commissioned by Vodafone.* Global figures reveal 80 million working women across 107 countries – a figure equating to approximately 15% of the female workforce – have also experienced domestic violence in this period.**

The report – published on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – highlights 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.*** KPMG analysis of records on domestic violence and abuse victims also revealed that the length of unplanned leave averages 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 £1.6bn in economic output is lost globally each year. Four million women globally have missed out on a promotion – suffering a related annual average salary loss of £2,240 per woman. This equates to approximately £10bn in potential earnings lost each year.

UK findings from KPMG for Vodafone reveal:

  • In the UK, about 122,000 working women have taken time off work because of domestic abuse in the past year.
  • £316m in economic output is lost by UK businesses each year as a result of work absences relates to abuse.
  • In the UK, the potential loss of earnings per woman as a result of abuse having negative impacts on career progression is about £5,800 each year.

Helen Lamprell, General Counsel and External Affairs Director and Trustee of the Vodafone UK Foundation said: “Domestic abuse has such a huge effect on the individual, their family and friends and a vast financial impact to both the individual and the UK economy.

“Supporting and providing resources for these vulnerable people can really be lifesaving – that is why the Vodafone Foundation is committed to providing programmes such as TecSOS and our Bright Sky app to offer 24/7 support to the thousands of people suffering with domestic violence or abuse.”

Announced earlier this year Vodafone has implemented a new HR [human resources] policy specifically for victims of domestic violence and abuse in 25 of its operating companies. Employees globally will now have access to support and specialist counselling, as well as up to 10 days additional paid leave in all countries.

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 roll-out 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 benefited from the services, including: the TecSOS technology, which has helped more than 100,000 high-risk survivors of domestic violence in five countries; Easy Rescue, which has supported more than 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.

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.


Notes to editors

* From a KPMG report commissioned by Vodafone looking at the impact of domestic violence and abuse in the workplace. This statistic relates to UK figures covered by a Vodafone survey across nine countries.

** 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.

Duvvery et al (2012) Estimating the costs of domestic violence against women in Viet Nam

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 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.

About Bright Sky

Bright Sky is a free app providing support and information for anyone who may be in an abusive relationship, or those who are concerned about someone they know. You can download Bright Sky for free on both iOS and Android devices on the App Store and Google Play Store.

In 2015, Hestia formed a partnership with Aspirant to explore digital solutions to support victims of domestic abuse. V.1 was released in 2016 with the aim of reducing the amount of time and the number of people a victim of abuse speaks to before they access the support that they need.

In 2017, Hestia partnered with Vodafone Foundation (supported by Thames Valley Partnership) to expand Bright Sky and improve on its design and usability with enhanced content on sexual violence, online abuse, stalking and harassment, three additional languages and an expanded directory of services. Additional funding was supplied by Comic Relief and the Home Office.

About Vodafone Foundation

Vodafone Foundation is at the centre of a network of global and local social investment programmes. Vodafone Foundation’s Connecting for Good programme combines charitable giving and technology to make a difference in the world. Vodafone Foundation is an independent UK registered charity, registered charity number 1089625.

For more than eight years, Vodafone Foundation has been investing funds through its TecSOS project to use connectivity to help support those affected by domestic abuse in the UK and across Europe. As part of a commitment to scale solutions for the benefit of more vulnerable people in the UK, Vodafone Foundation supported the expansion of the TecSOS portfolio of products, including the development of the Bright Sky app, in partnership with Hestia.

Other solutions developed by local Vodafone Foundation teams to help address domestic abuse and gender-based violence include:

  • UK, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Spain – TecSOS
  • Turkey – Easy Rescue app, 301,785 downloads
  • South Africa – Gender Based Violence Command Centre, more than 500,000 contacts (calls/SMS) received
  • Hungary – online support system. 1,000 women benefited
  • Spain – PorMi app for disabled women at risk of violence, 3,085 downloads.

About Hestia

Hestia supports adults and children across London in times of crisis. Last year the charity worked with more than 9,000 people, including women and children, who have experienced domestic abuse, victims of modern slavery, young care leavers and older people.

Hestia is the largest provider of domestic abuse refuges in London and last year it supported 3,657 people to recover from the trauma of domestic abuse including 668 children.

Hestia is also the home of UK SAYS NO MORE, a national campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse and sexual violence across the UK. UK SAYS NO MORE Week takes place 19th-25th May 2020.

Vodafone’s domestic violence and abuse policy

In March 2019, Vodafone Group announced its intention to implement a new HR policy specifically for victims of domestic violence and abuse in all its markets. Employees globally will now have access to support and specialist counselling, as well as up to 10 days additional paid leave.

The extra “safe leave” gives employees who have faced abuse time to manage their situation, such as seeking professional help and counselling, attending police or court appointments, making arrangements to move house, and supporting their children. Specialist training will be provided for HR managers to help them support employees experiencing domestic violence or abuse, including how they can assist them to seek help.

Alongside the research, Vodafone Foundation has worked with domestic violence and abuse expert Dr Jane Pillinger to develop a toolkit for all employers. The toolkit can be downloaded here.

About Vodafone Group and Gender Equality

In October this year, Vodafone announced that all Vodafone employees worldwide will be offered 16 weeks of fully paid parental leave following the introduction of a new global policy designed to support families by giving every parent the opportunity to have more time with children new to their family. Any employee whose partner is having a baby, adopts a child or becomes a parent through surrogacy will have the flexibility to take up to 16 weeks paid leave at any time during the first 18 months. Vodafone employees will also be able to phase their return from parental leave by working the equivalent of a 30-hour week at full pay for a further six months.

In March 2015, Vodafone pioneered a global maternity policy, offering women across Vodafone’s markets and operations a minimum of 16 weeks fully paid maternity leave and a 30-hour week at full pay for the first six months after their return to work.

In 2017, Vodafone launched ReConnect, a programme to attract talented women who have left the workplace for several years – often to raise a family – who want to return to work but are struggling to make the professional connections needed or refresh the skills required.

Vodafone is committed to connecting 50 million more women across its emerging market footprint to narrow the gender connectivity gap. Products and services have been specifically designed for women through local market insights. These products and services help to enable financial inclusion, improve health and wellbeing, build skills and promote entrepreneurship.

Vodafone is a partner of UN Women’s HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative. As a HeForShe Champion, one of our three IMPACT Commitments is to expand access to mobile as a tool for women’s empowerment.

Definition of domestic violence and abuse

Domestic violence and abuse (sometimes defined as intimate partner violence, family/carer violence or domestic violence) is an incident or pattern of physical, verbal, sexual, emotional or psychological abuse. It can involve financial/economic abuse and control, and/or stalking and harassment that is perpetrated by one intimate partner over another. Domestic violence and abuse frequently involves control, coercion, threatening behaviour and abuse. It frequently takes place over time, often starting with small acts of abuse.

Domestic violence and abuse occurs between opposite or same-sex intimate partners of any age, who may or may not be married or living together. It can also occur between family members, or between carers and those they live with or care for in the home.

Physical violence: involving hitting, kicking, burning, pulling hair, stabbing and shooting, leading to injury and in the worst cases death.

Sexual abuse: unwanted sexual attention, including rape.

Coercive control: a systematic pattern of behaviour with the purpose of undermining a victim and creating fear through threats, humiliation and intimidation and depriving an individual of support and independence. It is a psychological or emotional form of abuse that is used to control and limit the freedom of an intimate partner.

Financial/economic abuse: control of finances, often used to prevent a victim from having the money to pay for transport to get to work, or to buy suitable clothing for work. Without financial independence it can be very difficult to leave a violent or abusive relationship.

Emotional/psychological control and threats: can affect confidence and self-esteem and may also include control over social interactions and autonomy.

Stalking: workplace stalking often results in the perpetrator following a victim to and from their place of work, or hanging around the workplace entrance.

Cyber harassment: many of the forms of control, threats and stalking are carried out virtually through email, text messages, telephone messages etc.



About Vodafone UK

Vodafone UK is a technology communications company that connects people, businesses and devices to help our customers benefit from digital innovation. Our services span mobile, fixed-line connections, home and office broadband, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

We have a strong track record as a tech pioneer, making the UK’s first mobile phone call, sending the first text message, and making the UK’s first live holographic call using 5G in 2018. We were the first to start carrying live 5G traffic from a site in Salford, Greater Manchester and now have 5G in locations across Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain as well as the UK. Meanwhile, our 4G network coverage currently reaches over 99% of the UK population.

Today, Vodafone serves more than 18 million mobile and fixed-line customers in the UK. Vodafone is the largest provider of full fibre in the UK – our superfast broadband services are now available to nearly 12 million homes across the UK.

Sustainability is also at the heart of what we do: as of 1 July 2021, 100% of the grid electricity we use in the UK is certified to be from renewable sources.

For more information about Vodafone UK, please visit:

Vodafone UK Media Relations

Telephone: +44 (0) 1635 693 693


Twitter: @VodafoneUKNews


Vodafone Limited

Registered Office: Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2FN

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