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Workplace rights for workers experiencing domestic violence.

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Presentation on theme: "Workplace rights for workers experiencing domestic violence."— Presentation transcript:

1 workplace rights for workers experiencing domestic violence

2 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 violence. –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

3 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 attitudes: –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. Current victims of violence Over 3 times the capacity of the MCG 1.5 times estimated* Asian tsunami deaths *(higher than official confirmed numbers)

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

5 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 Can affect other co-workers Why should domestic violence be on the union agenda?

6 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 Documents/cost_of_dv_to_australian_economy_i.pdf (

7 RECOGNISE- RESPOND- REFER Workplaces are asked to

8 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. Workplaces are asked to

9 Consequences 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 Without intervention & support

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

11 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.

12 TRAINING 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

13 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

14 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 violence. 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

15 Other safety measures include Ability to screen calls and s, Train workers to not reveal information to others such as location and movements of protected worker 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 Model domestic violence clauses

16 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 violence. Issues for Consideration

17 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 solutions. 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 2 nd 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

18 National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women released February was formally endorsed by COAG in February 2011 and immediately committed to three key actions : 1.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. 2.The Line campaign 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. 3.Establishment of a new national domestic violence and sexual assault telephone and online crisis service (1800 RESPECT or ) AEU Considerations cont.

19 Other initiatives covered in The National Plan include: 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 AEU Considerations cont.

20 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 workplace, the role of delegates and required support for them, 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 negotiations. Broader union commitment

21 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: Ultimately, its a matter of doing what is right

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