Domestic violence is an issue for employers and workplaces because domestic violence, family violence, and sexual assault affects many Australians in paid work, and the health and safety of employees at home affects their health and safety at work. .

Whether the employee is a victim or perpetrator of domestic violence, employers and workplaces are directly impacted by domestic violence through absenteeism, staff turnover and lost productivity.

Absence from work by employees can include:

  • women experiencing domestic violence taking time off work because of injury, emotional distress, or attendance at court, or
  • perpetrators of domestic violence absenteeism taking time off work due to stalking or criminal justice processes.

Victims of domestic and family violence may need support at work as:

  • they may experience loss of concentration, low self-esteem and anxiety which will impact on their work performance and general well-being;
  • there may be disruption to their home life making it hard to get to work and to maintain regular work hours
  • they may have physical or mental injuries as a result of the violence which can impact if they don’t have enough sick leave to cover the time they need off.

Acts of domestic violence can also occur at work, and work colleagues may also be affected. Domestic violence can affect work colleagues who may try to protect victims of domestic violence, be concerned about their own safety or not know how to intervene. And employees who are friends, family and colleagues may take time off work to accompany a victim to court, hospital, or to care for children.

A safe and supportive work environment can provide a person affected by domestic violence with a safe space, and it can also provide information about services they can access. Employers can learn how to support employees who are, or have been, victims of violence in their home lives.

The Safe at Home, Safe at Work website provides a range of resources for employers looking for information about domestic violence in the workplace and what to do about it, and anyone interested in learning more about why domestic violence is a workplace issue. http://www.dvandwork.unsw.edu.au/