•During COVID-19 pandemic both government and non-governmental organizations reported that women and girls were particularly vulnerable.
•According to a research conducted by University of Nairobi, approximately 3.8 women and 1.3 men per 1000 are victims of intimate partner violence each year.
East African Breweries Plc (EABL) has rolled out a set of guidelines to support employees facing domestic and family abuse to disclose it and seek help.
These guidelines are intended to enable employees to feel safe to raise awareness on issues relating to the matter, reach out when in need for help, respond and refer cases of abuse at home or in the workplace.
Under the guidelines, employees can get paid leave of up to 10 days per year to deal with issues arising from domestic and family abuse.
KBL managing director, John Musunga said the company considers the guidelines important because abuse has physical, psychological, and financial effects that have an impact on all aspects of those experiencing it.
"We want an environment at EABL that promotes safety and is flexible, respectful, and supportive of employees experiencing domestic and family abuse so that they feel comfortable to disclose it and seek help,” said Musunga.
Domestic violence is an endemic social problem in many countries around the globe with many reported cases of domestic violence against women.
It increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, with both government and non-governmental organizations reporting that women and girls were particularly vulnerable.
Over 40 per cent of married women in Kenya have reported being victims of either domestic violence or sexual abuse.
Worldwide, over 30 per cent of women aged 15 and older have experienced physical or sexual partner violence.
In the recent past, however, there has been increasing in cases of domestic violence against male partners.
This translates to 1,181 women and 329 men are victims of intimate partner homicide.
According to the World Health Organization, as many as 38 per cent of all murders of women are committed by intimate partners.
Under the sustainable development goals (SDGs) all countries, including Kenya, committed to ending all forms of gender-based violence by 2030.
In June 2021, Kenya adopted a gender-based violence indicator in the government’s performance monitoring framework.
This will ensure that the enforcement and implementation of gender-based violence laws and policies are tracked.
According to Musunga, the support is part of the company’s efforts to create an inclusive culture, where employees feel valued, can thrive, and which allows them to be at their best both at home and at work.
"We want employees facing domestic and family abuse to feel that they can rely on their workplace to be a safe place to escape violence and a crucial source of social and economic support,” Musunga added.
The company has set up a confidential counselling and support service accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week for employees facing actual or threatened domestic and family abuse whether in or out of the workplace.
EABL has put in place additional policies that are not only applicable to its staff but also extended to its partners who include brand promoters, outlet owners and distributors.