Domestic violence and workplace productivity

The PSA commissioned some unusual, but interesting, research – on the impact of domestic violence on workplace productivity.

The executive summary:

Domestic violence is a workplace issue. It is estimated to cost employers in at least
$368 million for the June year 2014. …

Employment is a key pathway out of domestic violence. The body of research about domestic
violence over the past 30 years finds conclusively that staying in employment is critical to reducing
the effects of violence. Security of employment enables those affected by domestic violence to
maintain domestic and economic stability, in this way assisting them to find a pathway out of
violence and to successfully re-build their lives.

This makes sense. If a partner is not working, they are more likely to remain in a domestic situation with violence as they’ll be nervous about leaving their partner if they are reliant on them for the household income.

Employers have the potential of gains from implementing workplace protections that
support victims of domestic violence. There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that as
well as the potential for breaking the cycle of domestic violence, the introduction of workplace
protections for people affected by domestic violence both saves employers costs (recruitment,
retention, re-training, health and safety) and increases productivity.

I’m not quite sure what workplaces can do (assuming the partner does not work there also) except generally be sensitive to any staff who experience domestic violence.

For every woman whose experience of violence is prevented as result of the workplace protections
in a particular year, an average of $3,371 in production-related costs can be avoided. This number
is conservative as outlined in the body of the report.

So what do they recommend:

  • That employers create and implement tailored domestic violence human resources policies
    that can be integrated with existing health and safety policies
  • That an on-line induction module be prepared that is freely available to all organisations
    which includes knowledge about domestic violence
  • To work with peak bodies to motivate take up of existing programmes focused on training to
    recognise, respond to and reduce domestic violence
  • Based on successful overseas practice, develop and implement a national policy that entitles
    victims of domestic violence to up to 10 days special leave

All violent crimes are bad, but I have to say I have an extra level of malice towards those who commit domestic violence. Your home is meant to be the one place where you are safe.

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