Corporate trainings within WEGO2 projects recently have started in Ruse. The main goal is to raise awareness on the topic of domestic violence in business and to provoke commitment to the problem.
Mainly the trainings are attended by women. Some of the invited companies refused to join the trainings explaining that “domestic violence” is a family issue. Case of coronavirus in a company postponed the training.
Besides these challenges some conclusions and future steps can be made.
Diana Georgieva, an expert and trainer from the Center for Sustainable Communities Development (CSCD), shared that most of the people she met neglect the problem or rather do not want to see it. "Once we start talking in more details, they agree with some statements or deny others, which clearly shows that they do recognize the problem," she said. She is very impressed that in most cases the focus of the discussions is on psychological rather than physical violence. "When asked, 'Do you know what to do when you hear of a case of domestic violence?', Most participants said they would call the police. Very few knew about the existence of antiviolence centers and how to contact them. In the hospital, where CSCD distributed stickers with the national toll-free number, calls were received in the antiviolence center in Ruse in the next few days, "she added.
In general the business is not sensitive to the topic and does not show much commitment to the problem of domestic violence. Just in one case an employer shared a story of an employee – survivor of domestic violence and the management reaction was – more flexible work schedule.
The trainer is confident that one training is not enough for a significant change, and the need for more information is visible. A good practice, Kanev University Hospital - an employer with over 1000 staff, senior nurse staff suggested after training they attended to distribute stickers with toll free hotline. Supported by HR Manager we received the Engagement Charter signed in just a few days.
Both the positive and negative experiences from the past meetings speak of the great need for the WEGO2 project on the territory of Bulgaria to overcome the stereotype that domestic violence is a family problem. It is high time for the business to see the economic impact of this problem and specifically on each company or institution - absence from work, sick leave, distracted employees, team under stress, etc.
In part of the conversations during the trainings the expert from CSCD met with people who associated domestic violence with school violence and this made them more sensitive to the topic. Sharing real stories also stands out as a good practice, which is why making a film with a real story on the WEGO2 project is very useful. Most of the companies shared that after the lockdown they have another priority – survival of business and lacking behind their corporate social responsibility. But this is just a challenge for the whole WEGO2 team to find a way to motivate enterprises and institutions met.