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People managers urged to help domestic violence

People managers urged to help domestic violence

Some of Australia’s most powerful male CEOs have released a guide on how employers can help any employee caught up in family and domestic violence.

The 28-member Male Champions of Change group collectively employee 600,000 people. Champions head major organisations including Qantas, the Commonwealth Bank, Telstra, Goldman Sachs and the Australian Defence Force, KPMG just to name a few.

Their recommendations are contained in Playing Our part: Workplace Responses to Domestic and Family Violence. PeopleBiz readers can download the report from the Male Champions of Change website.

An estimated 1.4 million women in Australia live or have lived in an abusive relationship and 800,000 of them are in the paid workforce.

Employers are being asked to introduce supportive measures such as flexible and extra leave, counseling and understanding. A third of major private sector employers already have a policy or strategy to help those experiencing family or domestic violence.

Domestic and family violence is forecast to cost Australian businesses up to $609 million a year by 2021 in the form of via absenteeism, injury and lower productivity.

Change champion and KPMG Australia CEO Gary Wingrove has introduced flexible working hours, counselling and paid parental leave for those affected by violence to his organisation of 6,000.

Telstra has introduced a family and domestic violence leave entitlement of up to 10 days extra so an employee can visit a doctor, counselor, lawyer or move house. To date 43 people have access the leave arrangement including 28 female employees.

One of the report’s authors Elizabeth Shaw says a major hurdle facing women experiencing violence is financial independence so being able to keep a job is vital.

“Economic factors are the most significant predictor on whether a women experiencing domestic violence, remains, escapes or returns to an abusive relationship,” Shaw says.

Former Sex Discrimination Commissioner and Male Champions of Change founder Elizabeth Broderick says workplace also plays a role in stopping those perpetrating violence.

“Our workplaces assist in keeping employees safe, providing economic independence that supports women’s choices, and playing a leadership role in the community.”

“Furthermore, workplaces can also ensure perpetrators are not able to make use of work resources such as email and phone to carry out their abuse,” Broderick says.

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