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When Domestic Violence Comes to Work

Thursday, December 01, 2016 | Administration Officer | Comments (0)

MEDIA RELEASE – When Domestic Violence Comes to Work

Milly is a kitchenhand, working in a busy restaurant. Milly is a mother of three. Milly is also a victim of domestic violence. Sometimes Milly’s partner hides her keys so she is late to work. Sometimes Milly is too embarrassed to go to work because of the bruises on her face. Milly has taken all of her sick leave and annual leave to attend to court dates and hospital appointments for herself and her children. Milly can’t afford to lose her job, as without it, there is no way she could leave the relationship. Milly’s boss is frustrated because she has been late so often and has taken so much leave, and her performance at work is slipping. He suspects something is going on, but he doesn’t know what to say to Milly.

 

As part of the #16Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, the NT Working Women’s Centre would like to bring attention to the role that workplaces can play in preventing and responding to domestic and family violence.

For a long time, domestic violence was seen as a private issue. Now we know that this is not the case, and that we all have a role and responsibility to prevent and respond to domestic and family violence. This includes workplaces.

We know that 2 out of every 3 women who experience domestic and family violence are in paid employment.[1] We also know that D&FV affects the attendance, performance and safety of employees, and consequently reduces the productivity of Australian workplaces, costing $2.1 billion per year.[2]

Keeping one’s job is crucial to maintaining economic security and is a key pathway to leaving a violent relationship.

Awareness has also been growing about the positive contribution workplaces can make to the wellbeing and economic security of employees experiencing D&FV. Workplaces can respond by providing paid domestic violence leave, introducing domestic violence policies, implementing safety plans for affected staff, and ensuring that management are trained in how to respond.

Almost 40% of large agencies now have a domestic violence policy and/or strategy to support their employees[3]. This has increased by 7% over the last two years. Now is the time for more workplaces to step up and address this issue.

Most employers and managers want to help, but don’t know where to start, what to say, or what to do.

The NT Working Women’s Centre offers expert policy advice and training to workplaces who want to support their employees and take a stance on domestic and family violence. Please contact us if you would like to discuss this further.


[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2005 Personal Safety Survey, Cat No 4906.0 Reissue, AGPS, Canberra, 2006, p. 34 

[2] PwC 2015, A High Price to Pay: the economic case for prevention of violence against women.

[3] Workplace Gender Equality Agency, 2016


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