Special Announcement

 

 

WBFN Impact/Advocacy - Domestic Abuse Awareness

October 26, 2004—Along with the rest of the international community, the Bank has recognized Domestic Abuse Awareness month in October and numerous efforts are being made to
raise staff’s awareness of the issue. Human Resource Services has established what it calls The HUB Initiative, a 24-hour service that offers specialized off-site help for staff and spouses/domestic partners. The HUB’s assistance can be accessed by a confidential call to the dedicated phone line 202-628-2288.
Maria Borrero, Manager at the Office of Ethics and Business Conduct, emphasizes that the Bank’s interest in the issue of domestic abuse is “to ensure staff understand their responsibilities as international civil servants working for the World Bank Group and behave at all times with integrity.” For example, she said, the G-4 status does not exempt staff from their obligation to pay court-ordered child or spousal support. She added that a statement on domestic abuse is now included in the Code of Professional Ethics.
In a message to staff President Jim Wolfensohn said that while domestic abuse involves illegal behavior and is a matter that falls primarily under the police and local authorities, it is also a form of misconduct that the Bank Group will not tolerate. He added that domestic abuse is a pervasive issue which – in spite of common myths – occurs across cultural, societal and gender groups, including in institutions such as the Bank.
To raise awareness and provide help for victims and abusers, members of the World Bank Family Network (WBFN), and staff from HR and the Work/Life Services Unit decided to create a network with representatives at the front line of the domestic abuse issues.
HR Service Center Manager, Mark Bowyer, said: “We wanted to make sure that the service providers in the Bank in whom staff or family members are likely to confide or report an abuse were consulting with each other and coordinating their efforts.” The core group includes representatives from the WBFN Domestic Abuse Task Force, HR’s Domestic Abuse Coordinator, the Legal Assistance Officer, Security, HSD’s Personal and Work Stress Counseling Unit, and the Ethics Officer.
The concept of the HUB emerged from the work of the group. The HUB was set up to provide domestic abuse victims with assistance such as counseling, help with loans for safety and legal expenses, as well as a free consultation with an immigration attorney when necessary.
The HUB is managed by an external provider, so that the Bank can remain impartial in difficult family situations and it helps victims identify their options. Other efforts to raise awareness
include the brochures available in restrooms throughout the buildings since September 2001
In the October 2004 edition of the WBFN publication Mosaic, Hada Zaidan, HR’s Domestic Abuse Coordinator outlines the progress made on the issue of domestic violence, the type of help provided by the HUB, and the challenges remaining. Read the article.