As we completed preparation for today's CXBanks2019 online webinar it became obvious during discussions with many lived experience advocates that there is much work to be done in workplaces and with employers to prevent violence against women.
With one third of a working adults life spent in work, employers are in a unique position to create a supportive workplace culture that encourages the identification of health and wellbeing needs and to help tackle the silence around this issue.
PwC's 2015 Report - 'A high price to pay' the economic case for preventing violence against women, estimates that violence against women costs $21.7 billion a year, with victims bearing the primary burden of this cost. Governments (national and State and Territory) bear the second biggest cost burden, estimated at $7.8 billion a year, comprising health, administration and social welfare costs.
The PWC report identifies that the victim bears 31% of the costs of the violence with business only absorbing a mere 6% of the total costs and insurance 1%
There appears therefore to be a disconnect in how engaged employers are working collectively to address violence against women.
We know, it is often possible for those who use abusive behaviours to use workplace resources, such as phones or email, to threaten, harass or abuse current or former partners. For others, the workplace can be a safe haven and provide a route away from harm. And so there is clearly a very large role for employers to play in helping to prevent violence against women.
Also, having a job can provide the economic independence that helps people overcome their ordeal and rebuild their lives. It is however important to note that employment can sometimes prevent people from leaving abusive relationships, as they may not want to go in to refuges or leave their area.
Colleagues may also be affected, and face direct threats or intimidation. They may have to cover for workers who are experiencing domestic abuse. Colleagues may be aware that abuse is taking place but not know how to help.
WOW proposes to develop a program for employers that will enable them to take action
on domestic abuse by:
Demonstrating awareness of domestic abuse and breaking the wall of silence in the workplace
Supporting employees affected by domestic abuse and providing access to or information about service
Providing education and support to help perpetrators of domestic abuse to stop
Sharing best practice with other members of a to be established employer network
The first initiative will be a real world gathering in March 2020 sharing case studies of what some employers are doing to address Domestic Abuse.