A third of workers in Ireland have experienced domestic abuse, according to new international research commissioned by Vodafone Foundation to coincide with International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Just under half of workers surveyed said they know someone who they think is currently or has previously experienced domestic abuse.

According to the research, physical violence is the most common type of abuse experienced by workers in Ireland, followed by coercive control and emotional abuse.

50% of the workers surveyed said their experiences occurred almost daily or two to three times a week.

The international study taken among workers in Ireland, the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, South Africa, India, Turkey and Kenya found that almost half of those who experienced domestic violence and abuse during the last 12 months said the frequency increased because of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Additionally, the proportion of Irish workers saying the domestic violence and abuse happened at home has increased this year to 82% compared to 75% in 2019.

This compares to an average finding of 73% across all countries in 2021.

Almost half of those in Ireland who have children say they were aware of the abuse, with three in ten saying their dependent child witnessed the abuse.

Supports in the workplace

The report reveals the need for support in the workplace, with nine in ten Irish workers saying it had a negative impact on their work performance, including low confidence or self-esteem, feeling nervous or on edge, and feeling unwell.

A fifth of those felt that the domestic abuse they experienced had a serious effect on their career progression.

The report also makes clear that while the workplace provides the majority of Irish victims with a feeling of safety, a quarter were in the same workplace as the perpetrator of domestic abuse.

Further to this, many have increasingly experienced harassment near the workplace.

Of the Irish participants, over half of those surveyed had access to some sort of support in relation to domestic abuse through their workplace.

This compares to an average of just 16% across the eight countries included in the study who had a dedicated policy supporting survivors of domestic abuse.

Irish workers said the support has been helpful in raising awareness, and in helping to understand how to spot signs of abuse early to help with early intervention.

"What is clear from this report is not only the prevalence of domestic violence and abuse and that is happening in or close to the workplace, but the fact that the pandemic has created conditions for the situation to get worse," said Anne O'Leary, CEO of Vodafone Ireland.

"We are proud to shine a spotlight on this issue so that we can really understand the situation and how, as organisations responsible for the health and well-being of our workers, we can put in place supportive, practical and protective measures for those experiencing often harrowing situations," she added.

Vodafone has updated its Domestic Violence and Abuse toolkit, which includes new guidance on supporting survivors in different working patterns including office, hybrid or remote working.