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Research Study - Gender Based Violence at the workplace

Gender Based Violence (GBV) is a phenomenon deeply rooted in gender inequality and to date is still one of the most notable human rights violation across the globe.  This type of violence is directed towards a person because of their gender.  Although both men and women could experience gender-based violence, the majority of victims are women and girls. 

In order to explore further this issue, a research study was carried out on GBV at the workplace.  It discusses phenomena pertaining to risk and mediating factors that promote GBV in a number of activity fields. The findings emanating from this research will guide policy makers in view of potential training for workers and employers operating exercising their duties in the Maltese Islands.

The study holds a two-fold approach, which process incorporated quantitative and qualitative research tools. A survey was designed to explore phenomena related to GBV at the workplace.  Also, the interview schedule pertaining to the survey were used to conduct face-to-face semi-structured interviews with a sample of 10 professionals.   It is noted that this data gathering process was aimed to study GBV phenomena in the various places of work in the Maltese islands which findings will direct the design of training sessions for different employees and employers. 

The quantitative survey was held between March and May 2019 with a total of 102 responses. Recipients were sourced from private enterprise, unions, public service and public sector, social media through the Faculty for Social Wellbeing site, the project partners’ sites and the use of the authors’ accounts.

The research study shows that respondents look at the support systems in three main ways: foresight, formalisation and follow-up. In terms of foresight, respondents feel the need to have more awareness to staff on what is GBV, readily available information and more effective communication with and between employees even on informal levels.  In terms of formalisation, respondents express the need to have official guidelines, and in terms of follow-up, respondents focused on the need to keep the procedures updated to ensure that staff are continuously supported and that a self-help group could be setup across entities.

Findings of the research study also shows the need to carry out a larger scale study so as to address the magnitude of GBV. The need for training of staff was also noted and such has to be provided in various ways that cover from awareness, to the design of policy guidelines as well as awareness campaigns at the workplace.  Participants in the survey and interviewees outlined the need for zero tolerance but more importantly to have effective accountability procedures in place, wherein when GBV is flagged third party professionals and specialised NGOs are roped in to mitigate in such cases.  It was also evident that specialised training as part of professional development of staff is crucial and such has to be designed to meet the needs of the workplace as some settings promote GBV more than others as a number of risk and mediating factors to violence prevail. In view of this, one has to be aware that the workplace represents a melting pot of cultures and phenomena related to tolerance and violence are also culture specific.

The research report is available for download below: