Family violence is a workplace issue
23 Nov 2012
The Public Service Association says family violence is a workplace issue.
To coincide with White Ribbon Month and White Ribbon Day (November 25th) the PSA along with other unions, has launched an awareness project to involve workplaces in addressing and preventing family violence.
Research shows that the vast majority of those experiencing family violence are in some form of paid employment. There is also international evidence that victims of family violence, who are generally women, have a more disrupted work history, are more likely to be employed in casual or part-time work and as a result are on lower incomes.
“People who experience violence and people who use violence are in workplaces everywhere and what happens at home often has a big impact on what happens at work,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.
Workers who are affected by family violence may be stalked or harassed at work, need time off to attend court or counselling, or have protection orders or custody battles which can impact on their ability to do their job.
On the other hand those who use family violence may have anger management issues in the workplace, pose a threat to colleagues, use work time to harass or talk their victims, or need to take time off to attend court of stopping violence programmes.
Brenda Pilott says “staying in employment is critical to reducing the effects of family violence. By supporting victims to remain in paid employment, workplaces can assist victims on their pathway out of violence and keep workplaces safer.”
In Australia one million workers now have access to special domestic leave provisions relating to family violence which have been negotiated into collective agreements.
Brenda Pilott says it’s a good model which provides food for thought for unions and employers alike, and one which the PSA intends to explore further.
“It’s important for everyone to realise that workplaces can play an important role in dealing with family violence issues, whether that be from offering help, creating safe and supportive environments or encouraging others to take action.”
The PSA is also working alongside the Ministry of Social Development through the It’s Not Okay public education programme and has produced a useful resource about family violence as a workplace issue.