Topic 8: Fostering Supportive Environments
This is a summary of Topic 8. Download the complete Topic 8 from the Discussion Paper.
Domestic violence can have a significant impact on victims’ lives, including their ability to attend work or access services. There have been calls for domestic violence to be recognised as a ground of discrimination, similar to the grounds of age, race, gender, marital status or sexuality. Discrimination in the workplace, for example, may include terminating a victim’s employment or ruling them out for a promotion because their work has been affected by their abuse. Discrimination may also include a landlord rejecting a tenant because they are a victim of domestic violence.
Introducing this new ground of discrimination raises several issues that require careful consideration. For instance, a victim may be unable to show that their treatment was a result of domestic violence discrimination, and not of some other cause. Furthermore, the potential costs to business must also be examined. Is it reasonable, for example, to expect a business to bear the costs of employing someone who is regularly absent from work without an explanation?
An alternative approach could be the expanded use of workplace policies, such as paid leave for victims and guidelines for appropriate responses when an employee is experiencing domestic violence.
These policies aim to empower victims to speak up and to provide employers and service providers with the tools to support victims.
We are asking you to consider how we can assist domestic violence victims to be more confident in seeking appropriate support and assistance in the workplace and other environments and what actions would be most effective.