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TAKING HEART

Joining forces to address domestic violence crisis

The Body Shop and Expedia seek to raise awareness of the worrying trend and call on governments to help and support survivors

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The Body Shop is working closely with the Ministry of Social and Family Development to train frontline staff to detect signs and symptoms of family violence and refer victims to help channels.

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Expedia Group employees at the Annual AWARE Gala Fundraiser 2019. The company has continued to support this annual event since 2017.

Singapore

THE Body Shop last week announced its global partnership with No More, an organisation dedicated to end domestic violence and sexual assault globally. Together, they will raise awareness of this worrying trend, share information to support survivors and call on governments to provide additional funding for this cause.

During the circuit breaker period, Singapore police force's figures showed that family violence was on the rise. From April 7, 2020, to May 6, 2020, there were 476 reports filed for offences associated with family violence. This was an increase of 22 per cent compared with the monthly average of 389 such cases before the period, its statement said.

David Boynton, chief executive officer of The Body Shop, said: "The whole world is going through an incredibly difficult time. Tragically, an outcome of this is a dramatic increase in domestic violence. Though governmental policies are designed to protect people, those at risk of domestic violence are in potentially terrifying situations; isolated with their abusers. "The Body Shop has a truly global reach and influence which we want to use to help protect women. Through our campaign, we will mobilise more than 20,000 employees and encourage more than 30 million customers to support this vital cause. Collectively, as part of Natura & Co, that reach extends to over 200 million customers in more than 70 countries so we have the scale to make a real difference."

In Singapore, the company is working closely with the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) to train frontline staff so that they can detect signs and symptoms of family violence and refer victims to various help channels. The Body Shop is also helping to amplify MSF's Break the Silence against Family Violence anti-family violence messages through its social media platforms.

In the same vein, Expedia held a fundraising in March in support of Aware's Vulnerable Women's Fund.

The company raised a five-figure sum to support women affected by the pandemic in Singapore, and the donations were made through March-April.

Ho-Strangas Shyn Yee, director, Global Product Management, Expedia Group, said: "Expedia Group's corporate social responsibility efforts are aligned with eight of the 17 UN's sustainable development goals, including gender equality and reduced inequalities . . .

"Aware is deeply involved in these areas and has been at the forefront of driving these causes locally . . . It was necessary for us to support them and their beneficiaries during this crisis."

Upcoming fundraiser

She added that an upcoming fundraiser will be held in August-September, and its employees will be involved in the initiative.

Expedia Group brands - Expedia and Hotels.com - also teamed up with hotel partners in Singapore to launch the Healthcare Heroes Programme on April 9. The programme provides rooms at substantially-discounted rates for healthcare professionals at the frontlines, and is an immediate source of income to affected hoteliers whose businesses have been impacted by the current situation.

"Due to the strong demand from the healthcare sector and support from our hotel partners, we have extended the programme for check-in dates up to July 31, 2020," said the director.

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