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Avon Petition Against Domestic Abuse

Challenge

Support the introduction of domestic violence laws in Hungary.

Problem

Abuse remains a taboo subject, especially in socially conservative societies. In Hungary, domestic abuse is not currently designated as a separate crime and women’s groups have campaigned for new legislation for years in the face of little political will to act on the issue. According to Hungarian NGO NANE Women’s Rights Association, 72 women were killed in Hungary in 2011 as a result of domestic violence. Women Against Violence Europe (WAVE) reported in 2008 that one in five Hungarian women experiences physical violence in her lifetime.

In Hungary, if a petition collects at least 50,000 signatures, MPs are obliged to debate the issue in parliament.

Solution

Beauty product giant Avon chose to act and support the groundswell of public opinion in Hungary against the government stance. Partnering with NGOs they helped collect more than 100,000 signatures for a petition that forced the Hungarian parliament to debate introducing legislation on domestic abuse.

The company used its 70,000 sales representatives to help gather support for the campaign. The campaign was successful and in September 2012 the government agreed to draft legislation to criminalise domestic abuse, with the law to be passed by January 2013.

Avon has been involved in domestic violence legislation before, with its support of the Violence Against Women Act in the US and the Maria da Penha Law on domestic and family violence in Brazil. The company feels legislation is essential to addressing this particular issue.

Benefits

Reputational benefit for the organisation
Simply, behaviour that is detrimental to society as a whole, such as domestic violence, is bad for business

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