Domestic violence prevalent across all Australian communities

Rosie Batty, Australian of the Year and domestic violence campaigner

Rosie Batty, Australian of the Year and domestic violence campaigner

According to a survey, 17% of all women and 5% of men have experienced violence in a relationship since they were 15. Although some women are at more risk for experiencing violence, the survey found that domestic violence occurs in all communities in Australia and across all socio-economic groups.

The problem is so widespread and acute that workplaces are now joining the government in raising awareness of domestic violence and supporting victims.

Joining a positive trend among big business in Australia including National Australia Bank and McDonalds Australia, last month telecommunications company Telstra introduced an extra ten days of paid leave for victims of domestic violence. Telstra says the decision is in keeping with its strong commitment to safety, workplace flexibility and gender equality.

The leave is most likely to be used for counselling, legal advice, or medical appointments. Two out of three women who report violence by a current partner are in paid employment. It is estimated that domestic violence costs the economy $13.6 billion a year.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions has launched an ambitious bid to have domestic violence leave entitlements written into every award, which would extend the provision to another 4 million workers. “This would be a world first,” says Ged Kearney, the president of the ACTU.

White Ribbon Foundation chief executive Libby Davies says that domestic violence becomes a workplace issue as productivity, absenteeism and retention rates affected by violence in the home. A 2011 study by UNSW showed that two-thirds of those who had experienced domestic violence were in paid employment. Almost half of these said that the violence had affected their ability to work, due to physical injury, and one in five said they experienced harassment while at work by their violent partner.

Rosie Batty, this year’s Australian of the Year and domestic violence campaigner says that a job is a vital financial lifeline for a single parent with a violent ex-partner. It also affords a victim the economic independence to leave the violent relationship. Today is the one-year anniversary since her ex-partner killed their son at the end of cricket training

If you find yourself in a situation like this, contact our experienced family lawyers today for a free 10-minute telephone consultation.