When a staff member discloses domestic violence

Domestic and family violence (DFV) is a complex issue. Each one of us has a role to play in supporting those who need and want help.

What you need to know

We are all familiar with the sobering statistics relating to DFV in Australia.

Under normal conditions, the prevalence of abuse in Australian households is alarming. Every week, Police are responding to more than 5,000 reports of domestic violence.

Early indicators tell us that, under lockdown conditions, the situation has & will continue to worsen. A recent Women’s Safety NSW survey shows:

  • A rise in the number of domestic violence reports, including a sharp increase in new clients.
  • Increasing complexity of situations and scenarios, further complicated by a lack of frontline resources due to lockdown conditions.
  • An escalation in the levels of violence.

Australia’s situation mirrors that of other countries. In the UK, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline has seen a 25% increase in calls since lockdown started.

We know work can be a ‘safe place’ for victims and provides support and financial independence. Our current situation is compromising these factors and creates challenges within the home environment.

How can you help?

  • Facilitate regular communication with your workforce and continue efforts to build trust. Know your people and provide opportunities for them to talk freely.
  • Ensure teams have access to information and resources, including company policies on DFV, entitlements for support (including financial and/or accommodation) and EAP services.
  • If someone discloses they are experiencing domestic violence, maintain their dignity by:
    • Listening without judgement
    • Ask what they need and respect that
    • Support them and follow up regularly

Where to go for help and information