The Gendered Violence Research Network’s (GVRN) knowledge exchange project, Gendered Violence and Organisations, turns research-led insights into real-world impact. Harnessing decades of specialist research into gendered violence, we're renowned for providing information-led and practical bespoke training and advisory services to help employers learn how to effectively respond to gendered-based violence in the lives of their employees. We offer a suite of services including face-to-face and online training, webinars and new online short courses.
Ultimately, we’re helping create better, safer and more supportive workplace environments.
Employees experiencing domestic, family and sexual violence are particularly vulnerable in relation to work due to the predictability of their location and hours. The strain of dealing with the abuse may impact an employee’s productivity, performance and wellbeing.
Research conducted in 2011 found that 19 per cent of Australian workers who had experienced domestic violence in the previous 12 months reported the harassment continued at their workplace. The primary form of abuse involved receiving threatening phone calls and emails, and over 11 per cent of respondents who had experienced domestic violence reported that the perpetrator had physically come to their workplace.
The perpetrator may also harass and threaten other employees, placing these workers at risk. This is especially the case for workers who are the first point of contact in a business, or for those working directly with colleagues who are experiencing abuse. Employees who support affected co-workers may also find that doing so affects their own productivity due to stress and greater workloads.
There are multiple benefits for employers who proactively and effectively address the effects of domestic, family and sexual violence on the organisation. By doing so, you:
Employers can reduce costs and increase savings by providing supports to employees who are victims so they can maintain their employment. This will improve long-term productivity, safeguard institutional knowledge and offset potential termination, recruitment and retraining expenses.
Organisations that appropriately manage employees who are perpetrators of domestic, family and sexual violence will reduce the risk of vicarious liability and reputational damage. This is particularly the case if the employees are perpetrating violence on work premises, using work resources or are perpetrating violence during paid work time.
Employers will be fulfilling their duty of care to employees, contractors and clients by providing a safe organisation where foreseeable risks are removed or mitigated. This, in turn, could reduce insurance premiums and other security costs and will enhance the health, safety and wellbeing of all staff.
Research has shown that maintaining employment, and therefore economic independence, is a key factor in assisting someone to leave a violent relationship without risking homelessness for themselves and their children.
Taking a stand against and responding to domestic, family and sexual violence will also demonstrate commitment to the organisation’s stated values and corporate social responsibility charters. This will enhance your reputation both within your workforce and the wider community. Since 2016, for the organisation to be considered for an Employer of Choice, Australia’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency has required employers to report whether they have formal policies or strategies to support workers who are experiencing domestic and family violence.
Gendered Violence & Organisations training workshop evaluations reveal many staff are proud to work for an organisation that takes the issue of domestic, family and sexual violence seriously. Staff also appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the issue and develop skills to assist their colleagues, if needed.
Businesses and organisations can create an environment where people know it’s safe to disclose whether they are affected by domestic, family and/or sexual violence. People can be affected as a victim, a perpetrator, and as a supportive family member or colleague.
A supportive organisational environment is established by: