Companies must be guided by 3 Rs -- recognise, respond and refer -- in drafting a plan
One in six women in Australia has experienced violence at the hands of a current or former partner, and employers have the duty of care to have a plan on how to handle domestic violence situations involving their workers.
“Often, for these women, the workplace provides a sanctuary away from the abuser,” said Sally Kirkright, CEO of AccessEAP, a corporate psychology organisation.
Domestic violence drains the Australian economy by about $21.7 billion a year.
A national survey revealed that 94% of Australians believe domestic violence is also a workplace issue and 48% of those who experienced it actually disclosed it to a manager.
Among these, however, just 10% found their bosses’ response helpful.
“With White Ribbon Day taking place on November 25th, it’s the perfect time to examine current policies and perhaps consider introducing a structured plan.”
Integrated real estate group Mirvac, for instance, is working with AccessEAP to design and implement its own domestic violence action plan.
The plan would ensure that victims feel safe and secure within the workplace.
Mirvac now commits to be White Ribbon accredited. “Our main focus is to provide an environment where disclosure can take place allowing real assistance for people in a domestic violence situation,” said Mirvac’s National HR Manager Stuart Pearson.
AccessEAP helps companies educate their employees and create an action plan based on three Rs – recognise, respond, refer.
Recognising means being able to see changes in behavioural patterns that indicate a woman may be experiencing domestic violence.
Among the patterns that may raise red flags are: