The Australian Government and multiple resources companies have taken a stance against domestic violence in Australia on White Ribbon Day (November 23).
The government has announced a $109 million women’s security package over four years. This includes funding for legal assistance, expanding the no interest loan scheme and early release of superannuation for victims of domestic and family violence.
Fortescue Metals Group has also rolled out a new family domestic violence leave policy, where affected team members can obtain a 10-day paid leave entitlement.
This can be used for making safety arrangements for themselves and their family members, attend court hearings, and relocate or access police and counselling services.
Fortescue is in the process of becoming a White Ribbon Australia accredited workplace, following an equal accreditation received by Rio Tinto in September this year.
White Ribbon ambassador and Fortescue chief operating officer Greg Lilleyman said, “As a business with a majority of male employees, we believe that men have an important role to play alongside women in preventing domestic violence.
“The accreditation process helps facilitate open and honest conversations about what constitutes domestic violence and provides a framework for engaging with our people through surveys, policy reviews and the implementation of training programs.”
According to Marcela Slepica, the clinical director of a corporate psychology organisation AccessEAP, companies can play a role in supporting women experiencing violence at home, as work can often be a sanctuary away from abuse.
AccessEAP recommends businesses to recognise a case of domestic violence through a change in employee’s patterns of behaviour; openly extend support and encouragement; and refer employees to external assistance when required.
One in four Australian women aged 18 to 44 has been a victim of domestic violence, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported last year.