On White Ribbon Day, The Salvation Army Australia Southern Territory launched a Family and Domestic Violence Support policy for its employees. With over 4,500 employees across Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, The Salvation Army is one of the largest not-for-profits to put in place such a policy.
The policy provides comprehensive paid leave, flexible working arrangements and employee assistance programs for employees who are in or are seeking to remove themselves from a family or domestic violence situation. Employees actively supporting an immediate family member experiencing family or domestic violence are also supported.
“The Salvation Army look after people in the community who find themselves in a family and domestic violence situation, so we wanted to be able to provide our employees with the same care,” explains Sue Chamberlain-Ward, Human Resources Consultant.
Family and domestic violence is an abuse of power by a partner, ex-partner or family member. It takes many forms including intimidation, control, isolation and emotional, physical, sexual, financial or spiritual abuse.
Both men and women can experience family and domestic violence, but nearly one in six women in Australia (16%) has experienced violence by a current or previous partner.
According to Safe at Home, Safe at Work (a University of NSW domestic violence project) about two-thirds of women who experience violence are in paid employment. These women have a more disrupted work history, are on lower personal incomes, have had to change jobs frequently and are very often employed in casual and part time work than women with no experience of violence. Access Economics estimates that family and domestic violence costs the Australian community $13.8 billion each year.