Workplace responses to family violence – marking International Women’s Day #WeToo

In the lead up to International Women’s Day, the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Hon Iain Lees-Galloway, and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Jan Logie MP, met with business leaders today to talk about the importance of workplace responses to family violence ahead of the Domestic Violence Victims’ Protection Act taking effect on 1 April.

“We must prioritise supporting people experiencing family violence. The Domestic Violence Victims’ Protection Act enhances legal protections in the workplace for people affected by domestic or family violence, providing for domestic violence leave and flexible working arrangements.

“The Act takes effect on 1 April, and we encourage employers to ensure they have good policy and practice in place to support workers affected by family violence,” said Iain Lees-Galloway, Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety.

The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is working with government and non-government partners to develop information for employers to implement the Act and improve workplace responses to family violence. Information and resources will be available on government websites, sent out directly to employers, and in workplaces.

A Family Violence Policy Builder provides support for employers to develop fit-for-purpose policies that support workplace responses to family violence.

“It’s good for employers to have a family violence policy so that staff and managers know what to expect, and how to respond if their colleagues are affected by violence. For example, temporarily changing a person’s work schedule can help protect them and their co-workers from abusive calls, emails or visits,” said Mr Lees-Galloway.

“It’s appropriate to bring a focus onto family violence in the lead up to International Women’s Day. Family violence is a significant problem and we all have a role in responding to it.

“We know in some cases, victims who have been killed have not been in touch with support agencies. Sometimes colleagues are the only people outside of family who know about the violence. This provides a framework to ensure victims are safe at work and employers know how to help.

“The government is focused on improving all parts of the family violence system and the new Act provides for better responses in the workplace. In addition to the Workplace Policy Builder and information about the Act, community organisations such as Women’s Refuge and SHINE are providing training for workplaces on how to ensure safe and appropriate responses to staff affected by violence.

“This work makes an important contribution to improving responses to family violence,” said Jan Logie.