Date: 
Friday 18 September 2015

Domestic and family violence is a workplace issue. Having domestic/family violence as a new protected attribute in anti-discrimination legislation can provide another avenue of protection for victims and survivors who experience discrimination, as well as lead to improved measures for addressing domestic/family violence.

Domestic and family violence has a significant impact on Australian businesses and the economy. Almost two-thirds of women affected by such violence are in some form of paid employment and it is estimated that violence will cost the Australian economy $15.6 billion by 2021-2022 unless effective action is taken to prevent it.

With a focus on government and businesses/ employers, our work has included:

  • Domestic and family violence - a workplace issue, a discrimination issue

  • a roundtable in 2011 with academics, community organisations, legal services and working women’s centres to identify the issue of domestic and family violence as a workplace issue and a ground of discrimination.

  • submissions to the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) review of family violence and Commonwealth laws (2011), the Fair Work Act Review (2012) and the review of federal anti-discrimination laws (2012), Exposure Draft Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Bill (2012) – in which we have advocated for the provision of leave and flexible work arrangements for employees experiencing domestic violence, as well as for the recognition of domestic and family violence as a protected attribute under anti-discrimination laws.

  • advocating for workplaces to recognise and address domestic and family violence as a workplace issue, through developing workplace policies, safety plans and providing protections in enterprise agreements.