Convention No. 190 sets out measures to enable and accelerate a more in-depth socio-cultural change and a shift towards a paradigm of respect, safety and security for all at work. Articles 4(2) and 11 call on ratifying countries, in consultation with representative employers’ and workers’ organizations, to
address violence and harassment in relevant policies; to develop tools, guidance, education and training; and to raising awareness, in accessible formats as appropriate.
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7.1. Taking violence and harassment into account in relevant policies
Article 11(a) of Convention No. 190 calls for “violence and harassment in the world of work [to be] addressed in relevant national policies, such as those concerning occupational safety and health, equality and non-discrimination, and migration”. In light of the complexities of this multifaceted issue and the wide range of individuals who need protection, violence and harassment should be mainstreamed into all relevant policies related to the world of work. By doing so, ratifying countries would be able to ensure a holistic approach, and benefit from specific entry points and measures brought about by different policy interventions.
Box 34. Violence and harassment in relevant policies: Selected examples
Belgium: The Third National Action Plan to combat all forms of gender-based violence (2015–2019) put forward measures to raise awareness about human trafficking and other forms of violence and harassment, including among refugees and migrants and in sectors where exploitation for economic purposes may be taking place. In particular, attention is paid to the hospitality, construction, agriculture, manufacturing and fisheries industries. Priority is given to projects developed jointly with trade unions in order to find more effective and robust ways to prevent trafficking. Some measures are intended to improve access of victims to certain rights, such as recovery of unpaid salaries. 44
Grenada: The National OSH Policy foresees the role of the Ministry of Health in supporting the Ministry of Labour in health promotion at the workplace, including in the area of “the cessation of smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, drug abuse, promiscuity, stress, anger, violence and avoidance of other behaviourswhicharedetrimentaltolife” (Grenada 2019, 16).
Lesotho: The 2020 National Occupational Safety and Health Policy explicitly specifies “violence and harassment” as one OSH issue that every head of department or institution in the public service and every member of the public service shall be required to pay special attention to and monitor (Lesotho 2020).
Portugal: The National Strategy for Equality and Non-Discrimination for 2018–30(“Portugal + Igual” – ENIND), approved by Resolution No. 61/2018 of the Council of Ministers, sets as a specific objective to prevent and address violence against women and domestic violence, including by promoting a culture of non- violence and tolerance.
South Africa: The South African Government explicitly acknowledged online gender-based violence in the National Strategic Plan on Gender-Based Violence andFemicide2020–2030. Online violence against women is defined as: “any act of gender-based violence against a woman that is committed, assisted or aggravated in part or fully by the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), such as mobile phones and smartphones, the internet, social media platforms or email, against a woman because she is a woman, or affects women disproportionately”. Within the next five years, the Government plans to conduct studies on the impact of online violence against women and roll out cyber violence awareness programmes and strategies to respond to online gender-based violence (South Africa 2020).
Zimbabwe: The 2020 National Labour Migration Policy takes into account violence and harassment, and in particular gender-based violence and harassment. The National Policy particularly aims to ensure that labour migrants’ rights during both inward and outward migration – and especially the rights of women labour migrants, who are more vulnerable to gender-based violence, sexual abuse and human trafficking – are upheld in line with the ILO Decent Work Agenda during all the three stages of the migration process (Zimbabwe 2020).
44 The National Action Plan also contains several other operational initiatives including optimizing and effectively applying legal instruments; training for relevant professionals; improving victim protection and specialized services; maintaining international attention on the issue and coordinating actions; and sensitizing frontline staff, civil society actors and the general public to trafficking (Belgium 2015).
7.2. Promoting guidance, training and awareness raising
To accelerate a socio-cultural change and to equip relevant authorities, as well as employers and workers and their respective organizations, with the information and tools necessary to prevent and eliminate violence and harassment within their respective areas of influence, Convention No. 190 calls on ratifying countries to provide guidance, training and resources, in accessible formats as appropriate (Art. 11(b)). Paragraph 23 of Recommendation No. 206 stresses the role that key actors could play in this regard, such as those in the education, justice and media sectors. In addition, Article 11(c) of the Convention also requires States to undertake initiatives such as awareness-raising campaigns. Awareness raising is an important component of a broader strategy to prevent and eliminate violence and harassment, but Convention No. 190 and Recommendation No. 206 remind us that it is not effective as a standalone strategy. Its full potential can only be achieved within the broader context of an inclusive, integrated and gender-responsive approach.
Box 35. Examples of recent awareness-raising and other initiatives
Argentina: The Office of Advice on Workplace Violence of the National Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security established an ObservatoryonWorkplaceViolence, which provides data on people who consult on and report cases of workplace violence in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires. The Observatory generates information on consultations and complaints, develops guidance on prevention of violence and harassment in the world of work, as well as other tools and awareness-raising materials (Argentina, Chamber of Deputies of Entre Rios Province 2020).
Brazil: In 2017 the Federal Labour Prosecution Office in Brazil, in partnership with the ILO, developed guidance on preventing and tackling sexual harassment at work (Brazil, Public Ministry of Labour and ILO 2017).
Denmark: The social partners and the Danish Working Environment Authority have recently launched a campaigntopreventsexualharassment and unacceptable and offensive conduct at the workplace. Following the 2018 amendment of the Act on Equal Treatment of Men and Women, social partners and the Working Environment Authority have joined forces for the campaign “Where’s the limit?”, further bringing into focus the prevention of sexual harassment. The goal of the campaign is to prevent unacceptable and offensive conduct in the workplace and, by doing so, it aims at creating a working environment and workplaces free from sexual harassment. 45
Ecuador: The Council of the Judiciary has developed policiesto prevent violence, mistreatment and/or sexual exploitation, and to ensure access to justice and protectionforwomenvictimsofviolence,irrespectiveoftheirmigrationstatus(Ecuador 2016).
Egypt: The National Council for Women, in partnership with the Ministry of Manpower, the Federation of Egyptian Industries and others, launched an awareness-raising video on the role of business owners and companies in providing safe workplaces for women (UN Women Arabic 2020).
Nepal: With the support of the ILO, the Government carried out a review of national laws and policies in addressing gender-based violence, which was validated by employers’ and workers’ organizations and led to an approved blueprint for future actions. As a follow-up, and with the support of the ILO, a Convention No. 190 Action Group has been established, whose members have been nominated by the Government and workers’ and employers’ organizations. The Action Group coordinates capacity-building activities for employers’ and workers’ organizations (ILO 2021a).
Paraguay: The Ministry of Women has developed a programme called “Empresa Segura” (Safe Enterprise) that aims to raise awareness and provide guidance on managing situations related to, among others, gender violence and a fair and safe work environment. The activities carried out to date include training on “conflict management and referral of cases”, which targets general managers and unit chiefs. The training is coordinated by specialized psychologists, and uses techniques to prevent and identify violence against women (Paraguay, n.d.).
Peru: The Ministry of Labour and Promotion of Employment has created training and awareness-raising materials for employers and workers on harassment at work (Peru 2019).
South Africa: In 2020, the Minerals Council South Africa launched a campaign to address sexual and gender-based violence and harassment in South Africa’s mines and in mining and labour-sending communities. The campaign encourages all member companies, others in the industry and residents of mining communities and labour-sending areas to take action against gender-based violence and abuse in their workplaces and communities, and where they observe any such incidents, not to stand aside but rather to report those incidents and take any other appropriate action (Minerals Council South Africa 2020).
45 As part of the campaign, a website has been set up to provide material regarding the subject. The material includes, for example, a campaign video and a leaflet with ten recommendations on how to prevent and handle sexual harassment. A tool for dialogue has also been developed, comprising a range of dialogue cards intended to facilitate discussions about and prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace (Norrbom Vinding 2019).