NUI Galway is to become the first higher level institution to provide paid leave for staff who are victims of domestic violence.

Researchers at the Centre for Global Women's Studies found that those affected are on average missing seven to 15 days of work. In addition the impact of domestic abuse saw productivity levels drop from between five to 10 days when victims returned to the workplace.

Dr Nata Duvvury, Director of the Centre for Global Women’s Studies at NUI Galway said: "More than 30% of women experience emotional violence in their lifetime by a partner, which affects women’s working lives leading to lower productivity and wellbeing.

For example, women experiencing domestic violence miss on average 15 days of productive work on a yearly basis."

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris will virtually launch the new Domestic Violence Leave Policy this week.

He said that the impact of domestic violence on victims and their families can be devastating physically and emotionally and their stress can be compounded by the worry of work or not being paid.

"Support for victims who are working, in the form of paid leave, could be crucial in ensuring that they retain their employment and have the economic capacity to escape an abusive relationship. The introduction of the Domestic Violence Leave Policy at NUI Galway marks a critical step forward in ensuring that Higher Education Institutions are safe and supportive workplaces", Mr Harris said.

NUI Galway said the new policy would help to ensure safe and supportive workplaces for staff. Employees who experience domestic violence will be afforded a period of paid leave to access the help they need.

NUI Galway President, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: "NUI Galway is proud to introduce this Domestic Violence Leave Policy, which aligns with our vision and values of respect and excellence of our students and staff as citizens connected to, and contributing to, community and society in Ireland and internationally for the public good."

Annually, it is estimated that 50,000 women experience physical and/or sexual violence by a current or former partner and approximately 117,000 experience psychological violence by a current partner.

During the pandemic there has been a sharp increase, by nearly 43%, in calls to organisations such as Women's Aid and Safe Ireland.