Work with victims of domestic violence rewarded with new scholarship
Hello there Karin Karlström, HR strategist at the University Administration, who towards the end of last year was awarded the recently established Gun Heimer scholarship for her work with employees and domestic violence.
How does it feel to receive this scholarship?
“I feel honoured and pleased that the work we have begun – to raise awareness about domestic violence – has been recognised in this great way. Uppsala University is a large employer, and that makes it very likely that a number of employees have been victims if you look at the statistics on the prevalence of domestic violence. If greater knowledge means that we can identify some of these employees and help them, it can make a big difference to those individuals. However, domestic violence is not just an issue for the individual. It also becomes a health and safety issue. Even if the violence does not take place in the workplace, the problem has consequences for the workplace because it has a negative impact on the health and performance of the victim. Colleagues in the victim’s surroundings who may know what is happening can become worried and affected by the situation. “
What does this scholarship mean for ongoing efforts in this area at Uppsala University?
“The scholarship is a good reminder that we have started important work on an issue that is relevant for both individuals and the workplace. Now we just have to keep at it! The fact that the scholarship is being noticed will hopefully also mean that the work we have done and the information we’ve gathered will get shared again in the organisation.
What is the most important thing being done today for employees who are victims of domestic violence?
“For the individual victim, perhaps the most important thing is having an aware manager (or colleague) who listens and asks them how they are doing and helps them if necessary. Or the option of an anonymous phone call to the occupational health service, with referral to the right help. Being seen and heard is key for victims to have the courage to speak out.”
What do you hope/want Uppsala University to be able to do better in the future as a result of your work?
“That more employees who are being affected by domestic violence are asked about their experiences, and if necessary can receive support to get the right help. We don’t know how often people get asked whether they are being subjected to domestic violence, but probably too rarely. The hope is that, with the information and guidelines we have produced, and the opportunity to get advice and support in dealing with this kind of situation, will mean that managers feel more comfortable about raising the subject of domestic violence if they suspect it is occurring. This is important for both the individual and the workplace, given the negative consequences of domestic violence.”
The justification for the scholarship emphasises that Karin Karlström has “as an HR strategist actively, strategically and operationally developed and strengthened support for employees who are victims of domestic violence”.
The Gun Heimer Scholarship is awarded by Uppsala Zonta Club 1. Zonta is an international, non-profit organisation that advocates for women’s rights. The scholarship was established when Professor Gun Heimer retired from her position as Head of the National Centre for Knowledge on Men’s Violence against Women at Uppsala University (NCK).