New domestic violence toolkit to support women at work
The Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins, has today launched a toolkit aimed at improving the way unions, employers and business groups can support employees experiencing domestic or family violence and help them remain in work.
“Domestic and family violence is, unfortunately, more common in Australia than many people would like to think,” Ms Collins said at the launch of the Safe at Home, Safe at Work? Toolkit in Hobart.
“It is also much closer to most people than they might think – almost two thirds of women who report domestic violence are in paid employment.
“Women who are experiencing domestic violence may find it hard to concentrate at work, or they may take a lot of time off, or often be late to work.
“The perpetrator may also be harassing them while they are in the workplace.
“It is vitally important these women are supported in the workplace and this toolkit provides practical advice and support for employees and employers,” Ms Collins said.
Australian Bureau of Statistics research indicates one in three Australian women will have experienced physical violence from the time they were 15 years old – and one in five will have experienced sexual violence.
KPMG has estimated the cost of domestic violence to the Australian economy at more than $13.6 billion, with that figure likely to rise to $15.6 billion by 2021.
“Returning to or staying at work is critical to women finding a safe way out of a violent relationship – a job provides them financial security and a safe haven,” Ms Collins said.
“Yet, the negative impact on a women’s work performance can put their job at risk.
“These can include paid leave to attend urgent court matters, flexible working arrangements, confidentiality and safety measures,” Ms Collins said.
The Australian Government has provided more than $900,000 to the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse for the wider initiative – which includes the toolkit – called the Domestic Violence Workplace Rights and Entitlements project.
The Project activities include:
- The development of a website containing information and online training tools
- An information package including fact sheets, templates and guides
- A survey on the prevalence of domestic violence
- An in-person and online training package developed and delivered for employers and unions
The Safe at Home, Safe at Work? toolkit can be downloaded at http://www.dvandwork.unsw.edu.au/what-you-need-know