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workplace rights for workers experiencing domestic violence


workplace rights for workers experiencing domestic violence * * * * * * * * * The Australian Government initiated research to implement the first comprehensive ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: workplace rights for workers experiencing domestic violence

  • workplace rights for workers experiencing
    domestic violence

Current victims of violence
  • The Australian Government initiated research to
    implement the first comprehensive National Plan
    Against Violence Toward Women and Their Children.
    It found
  • Australian womens worst commonality (more than
    breast or ovarian cancer) is the experience of
  • Research indicates that intimate partner violence
    is responsible for more ill health and premature
    death among women aged under 45 than any of the
    better known risks, including high blood
    pressure, obesity and smoking.
  • According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics,
    one in three Australian women will report being a
    victim of physical violence and almost one in
    five will report being a victim of sexual
    violence in their lifetime.

Current victims of violence
  • This is, approximately 350,000 women in Australia
    will experience physical violence and 125,000
    women will experience sexual violence each year.
  • (Compared with 12,000 new cases of breast cancer
    a year)
  • There is a huge need to shift community
  • The National Crime Prevention Survey in 2001
    found that one in seven teenage boys thought it
    was acceptable to force a girl have sex with them
    if she had flirted with them.
  • Without concerted effort, each year violence
    against women is estimated to cost the Australian
    economy more than 13 billion.

Over 3 times the capacity of the MCG
1.5 times estimated Asian tsunami
deaths (higher than official confirmed numbers)

Why should domestic violence be on the union
  • Two thirds of Australian women who report
    violence by a current partner are in paid

Why should domestic violence be on the union
  • 10 of working women
  • Prevents them going to work
  • 50 and 74 harassed by their partners at work
  • The most common way is by phone or email
  • Can affect other co-workers

What is domestic violence ?
  • Intimate and family relationships
  • Mostly the perpetrators of domestic violence are
    men towards women
  • Physical and sexual violence, threats and
    intimidation, emotional and social abuse and
    economic deprivation.
  • Control
  • Continues after end of relationship
  • 98 are men http//
  • Documents/cost_of_dv_to_australian_economy_i.pdf

Workplaces are asked to

Workplaces are asked to
  • recognise when domestic violence is impacting on
    a member of staff
  • respond appropriately according to the workplace
    entitlements and policies
  • know when and how to refer to a local domestic
    violence service.

Without intervention support
  • more disrupted work history
  • on lower personal incomes
  • employed at higher levels in casual and part-time
    work than women with no experience of violence

A victims best chance
  • Being in employment is a key pathway to leaving a
    violent relationship

the workplace can be
  • The Aust. Domestic Family Violence
    Clearinghouse is working with employers and
    unions to ensure workplaces are
  • a critical source of support and protection
  • where women feel safe to disclose so they can
    stay in the job
  • their best bet of removing themselves from a
    violent relationship.

  • Fundamentally, (like with any other change like
    sexual harassment) workplaces will need training
    to understand domestic violence prevention
  • in the workplace
  • legal rights and local support services
  • barriers

Model domestic violence clauses
  •  What is desirable
  • Paid domestic violence leave (20 days paid is
    international best practice)
  • Consecutive, single or fraction of days
  • Without prior approval
  • Confidentiality - no information will be kept on
  • an employees personnel file without their
    express written permission

Model domestic violence clauses
  •  What is desirable continued
  • Proof of domestic violence can be provided via
    Police Service, Court, Domestic Violence Service,
    Doctor, Lawyer
  • No adverse action will be taken against an
    employee if their attendance or performance at
    work suffers as a result of experiencing domestic
  • Workplace Safety Plans are completed to Assess
  • Workforce-Workplace-Individual
  • Screening-security-emergency
  • The nature if work and work patterns higher-risk
    times for victims are arriving and leaving work
  • How could the workplace be safer?
  • high risk times for exposure to domestic
    violence are
  • during pregnancy and post-separation

Model domestic violence clauses
  • Other safety measures include
  • Ability to screen calls and emails,
  • Train workers to not reveal information to others
    such as location and movements of protected
  • Personal safety alarms, panic buttons at counters
  • Ensure protection orders include workplace
  • Provide security staff with photo of ex-partner
  • Create accountability measures for the abusers if
    they work in the organization

Issues for Consideration
  • Unions recognise culture change has
  • its difficulties
  • Some view violence as a personal matter not to be
    intervened in.
  • Others might think its too big and too hard
  • There may be resentment by others of an
    under-performing colleague
  • Both partners may be in the same workplace
  • The AEU however, has a better basis for tackling
    issues of culture change as
  • weve done so in classrooms for decades,
    particularly when responding to and
  • training members in, gender equity strategies and
    sexual harassment for
  • example. There is a place and a capacity for
    Principals and educators to be proactive in
    appropriately supporting victims of domestic

AEU Considerations
  • Confidentiality DETs and TAFE institutes HR
    processes may offer some privacy and protection.
    The balance needs to be found between the right
    to confidentiality and the need for a safe
    workplace for all staff. Workers need only
    disclose what they feel comfortable disclosing.
    The use of payroll numbers rather than names as
    identifiers and dedicated personnel within
    organisations that deal with family/domestic
    violence are being explored as possible
  • Mandatory reporting it will need to be made
    clear how workplaces respond to the knowledge
    that an employees children may be experiencing
    or witnessing the violence being reported and
    hence may trigger a mandatory report.
  • Training- Training developed as a model by the
    ADVC is based on two separate phases. 1 hour to
    explain why family violence is an issue and how
    the clause will work (basic safety planning). The
    2nd is a 3-hour session for employees likely to
    be closely involved in
  • applying the new policy/clauses to gain a more
    in-depth understanding of responding
  • to family/domestic violence. Ideally, the AEU
    might similar training to union
  • reps as well as Principals.

AEU Considerations cont.
  • National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women
    released February 2011 http//
    lt.aspx was formally endorsed by COAG in February
    2011 and immediately committed to three key
  • Education, through the Respectful Relationships
    program aims to help young people negotiate
    ethical relationships. Strategy 2.1 Build on
    young peoples capacity to develop respectful
    relationships involves working through the
    Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting
    Authority to support the inclusion of Respectful
    Relationships education in phase three of the
    Australian National Curriculum.
  • The Line campaign http//
    ine is about giving young people life-long skills
    to work out the boundaries of respectful
    relationships so they can better recognise,
    develop and maintain the sort of relationships
    that value equity and respect at all stages of
    their lives. And that there is never a place for
    abuse or violence in a relationship.
  • Establishment of a new national domestic violence
    and sexual assault
  • telephone and online crisis service (1800
    RESPECT or 1800 737 732)

AEU Considerations cont.
  • Other initiatives covered in The National Plan
  • the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC)
    inquiry into the impact of Commonwealth laws on
    those experiencing family violence, including the
    impact of child support and family assistance
    law, immigration law, employment law, social
    security law, superannuation law and privacy
    provisions. The ALRC is due to report to the
    Attorney-General no later than 30 November 2011
    and will build on the Commissions current
    inquiry on the family law system.
  • improve services for victims of domestic violence
  • new programs to stop perpetrators committing acts
    of violence
  • the Personal Safety Survey and National Community
    Attitudes Survey
  • the development of a national scheme for domestic
    and family violence orders
  • improve sexual assault victims access to justice
  • expand counselling services for male victims of
    domestic violence through Mensline.
  • For more information on the National Plan and
    Respectful Relationships please see
  • http//
  • http//

Broader union commitment
  • The ACTU Womens Committee held a Domestic
    Violence Workshop and
  • endorsed a number of principles and advice for
    unions proceeding with
  • bargaining for family violence clauses.
  • The parameters of advice deal with
  • levels of education within the union and the
  • the role of delegates and required support for
  • union involvement in broader community
    campaigning against violence, and
  • a commitment to work with the Family and Domestic
    Violence Clearing House, to develop resources for
    unions considering options to address domestic
    violence in workplace agreements and

Ultimately, its a matter of doing what is right
  • This is a prime example of how unions are
    working for a better society and being agents for
    social change
  • Ged Kearney, ACTU President 15 April UNSW
  • This is a really exciting proposal - and if
    approved, will be the first of its kind in
    Australia. Congratulations to the CPSU and the
    other general staff unions for leading such an
    innovative campaign.
  • The Hon. Tanya Plibersek 15 April UNSW
  • Further resources and contact details
  • http//
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