Recent research shows that between one in three and one in four women encounters domestic violence (DV) in their lives. The Australian culture and the media imply that this tragic trend is limited to low socio-economic groups and the unemployed. But this isn’t a reflection of the truth.

DV permeates the Australian population, regardless of income, profession, geographic location and ethnicity. In fact, between 1/2 and 3/4 of women who are currently enduring DV are currently in the workforce.

It is time for workplaces to roll up their sleeves and take a proactive approach to the rise against domestic and family violence (DFV). This is why:

1. Work provides a safe haven – DFV is an insidious situation that often permeates all through a victim’s life and touches every facet. For many, the only break they get is the time they spend at work. By providing safety and understanding, work becomes somewhere to have breathing space and respite.

2. Making it easier to walk away – If a victim of DFV has a supportive employer and a stable income, they are more likely to leave a DFV situation. This reduces the likelihood of harm and the long-term impacts for the victim and their dependents.

3. Reducing the footprint of DFV – DFV is fuelled by stigma and judgement. Victims often feel the need to keep domestic abuse a secret for fear of being judged by others. By fostering a culture of openness and empathy, a workplace makes it easier for a DFV victim to share their situation. Once shared, they can seek the support they need to walk away and seek help.

4. Increased productivity – almost 50% of victims of DFV express that it has affected their ability to get to work, and they report being distracted, tired or unwell and needing to take time off work. By actively supporting people who are/have experienced DFV, workplaces are likely to see increased productivity and staff retention.

5. Enhancing culture – A number of studies have shown that today’s workforce seeks a healthy culture above all other factors in the workplace, including salary and other benefits. By taking a stance against DFV and empowering employees to do the same will improve workplace culture and foster a spirit of openness and support.

6. It’s the right thing to do – pure and simple – it’s a no-brainer. If your organisation would like to take a stand against domestic violence, and support your employees to do the same, please contact Workhaven today.