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Fact Sheet 7: Being A Good Corporate Citizen

The purpose of this fact sheet is to suggest some things that employers, unions and employees can do to help eliminate family violence. We all have a social responsibility to prevent family violence. This fact sheet will profile "better practices" that others are using to assist victims and become good corporate citizens in the area of family violence.

Perhaps you can adopt some of these initiatives... or come up with ideas of your own.

A: What Employers Can Do

B: What Unions Can Do

C: What Employees can do

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A: What Employers Can Do

1. Donate Services or Products

2. Sponsor National Programs

3. Good Samaritan Activities

Many businesses have found ways to become "good corporate citizens." The following are examples of how some employers have chosen to demonstrate their social responsibility. We have divided the employer initiatives into three categories.

1. Donate Services or Products

In New Brunswick, Aliant Telecom devotes a page at the front of the phone book on services and information for victims of abuseIf your business offers a specific product or service, there are great ways for you to become a good corporate citizen. Here are some suggestions, along with examples of what others have done, here in NewBrunswick and elsewhere:

• If your workplace publishes a catalogue, newspaper or other publication, you could use a page to list phone numbers and other resources for abuse victims.

Baxter Foods in Saint John periodically donates frozen foods to Hestia House, the local shelter. • Grocery stores could donate goods to local transition homes such as food or even toothpaste!

• Manufacturers could donate supplies to agencies that help the homeless or local transition homes.

• Hotels could offer free rooms to victims of abuse, for example, when there are no vacancies at the local transition house or other agencies that provide shelter.

Irving Tissue in Moncton donates bathroom tissue to Crossroads, the local shelter• Hotels could donate used bed linen, spreads, and towels to the local transition house.

• Taxi companies could provide free rides to people in crisis who are leaving an abusive relationship and need transportation to a safe shelter. Free ride programs could be co-ordinated with police and transition houses.

The law firm Forbes Roth Basque in Moncton does pro bono coporate and other work for Crossroads, the local shelter for abused women. A lawyer with the firm also sits on the Crossroads• Lawyers could offer pro bono services to victims of domestic violence or to shelters for abuse victims. (Did you know that many victims of abuse stay in the relationship because they are afraid of losing custody or access to their children?)

• Kennels or veterinarians could cover the expenses of boarding pets while victims of abuse establish a safe place to live. (Did you know that victims of abuse The Animal Rescue League in Saint John boards pets for women who to go Hestia House....sometimes delay seeking shelter because the abuser has threatened to kill or harm the pets or farm animals?)

• Storage companies could offer free storage to people in the process of leaving abusive relationships.

• Daycare programs could arrange to care for children of staff who have lived with family violence at reduced rates.

What Are You Doing?Hoyt• Telecommunication companies can provide free cell phones to victims of abuse to help them access community resources or emergency services, especially if they are restricted in using their home phone.

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2. Sponsor COMMUNITY Programs

Amazon.ca
Amazon.ca makes arrangements with transition houses and violence prevention organizations to have a link on their web sites. The person browsing the website can connect directly to Amazon.ca and order a video, DVD, a book, or software. In return, for each purchase that originates from that link, Amazon.ca makes a contribution to help cover the cost to maintain the organization"s website.

Bell Mobility
Bell Mobility launched a campaign entitled Recycle, Reuse, Redial, a national wireless phone recycling program. Bell Mobility will donate refurbished phones generated through the program to more than 90 women"s shelters across Canada. The program has started in Ontario and Quebec and is expanding. Bell Mobility will also provide refurbished phones and a subsidized rate plan for women transitioning to life outside a shelter.

The Body Shop
In Canada, the Body Shop has been involved with family violence prevention education since 1994. It helps raise money for local family violence resources through donating part of the sale on certain products....The Body Shop recognizes the importance of responding to family violence, and has responded in its own way through the Stop Violence Against Women Campaign. "The Body Shop has chosen Stop Family Violence because of our commitment to Defend Human Rights and Activate Self Esteem. In 1995, at the United Nations World Conference for Women in Beijing, China, domestic violence was declared the number one human rights violation facing woman and children around the world. The Body Shop believes that ALL people deserve the same rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." These rights are often denied in an abusive relationship. Women that are abused often have low self-esteem, and feel ashamed, inadequate, afraid and sometimes even responsible for the abuse."

Liz Claiborne Inc.
Liz Claiborne says: “Nearly one-third of all Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year. Liz Clairborne, Inc. is another example of good corporate citizenry. The company makes it clear that family violence cannot be tolerated. "Love is Not Abuse" is a section on the Liz Claiborne Website, which provides information on family violence for the general public. The company launched the Women"s Work program in October 1991 as a way to recognize the people who had made the company a success over the years. The program began as a series of community-based, public art projects designed to heighten awareness of, and encourage positive social change on issues of particular concern to women and their families. The site also has online handbooks for women, teenagers, and parents. Liz Claiborn held a "Stop the Violence" film contest, where people could submit short films on the topic of family violence.

Polaroid Corporation
This company also demonstrated a corporate "best practice" in the area of family violence prevention and education in the workplace. Polaroid was paired with Transition House, which is the battered woman"s shelter located near the The immediate objective of the DVERS program is to provide participants with added security and some peace of mind within their own home....company"s corporate headquarters, to provide in-kind service, volunteers, employees" professional expertise and/or corporate financial support.

(Mighty and Leach. Cutting Deep: Workplace Stress and Family Violence in a Climate of Downsizing.)What Are You Doing?

ADT Security Services
Since 1991, ADT has contributed to ending domestic violence by implementing DVERS (Domestic Violence Emergency Response System), a program, which donates portable security systems to victims of domestic violence.

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3. Good Samaritan Activities

• Organize a summer BBQ or a winter bowling tournament for kids staying at a transition house.

• Hold a dress down day and collect donations for charity.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees has developed a family violence prevention program, called “Solidarity Against Violence” with the intent of encouraging local CUPE unions to develop their own local actions. B: What Unions Can Do

• Advocate for family violence programs and practices.

• Support union members who are leaving a violent family relationship.

• Support a local transition house.

What Are You Doing?• Do a safety audit in the workplace/community.

• Donate part of your yearly union membership dues to help fund family violence and the workplace programming.

C: What employees can do

Employees can do their part and not just rely on Employee Assistance ProgramsEmployees do not have to wait for the employers to take the lead - they can come up with their own ideas about how to respond to family violence.

• Staff can donate business clothes to organizations that help women re-enter the workforce.

• Casual Friday monies can be collected and donated to help fund or establish transition shelters.

• Employees can set-up their own "buddy system", where a staff person is paired with a colleague who may be experiencing family violence. What Are You Doing?

What are you doing? Please send us a letter or email and we will include it on our web site.