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Domestic Violence and the Workplace Survey - Findings Released

Posted 19 December 2011 by Michelle Rangott (NTEU National Office)

In June 2011, NTEU members were asked to participate in a national online survey on the impact of domestic violence at work.  This survey was conducted by the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse located at the University of New South Wales.  Over 3600 union members from a range of industries responded to the survey.  Of the respondents, 48% were members of the NTEU.  The results have now been released and include the following key findings:

  • Nearly a third of respondents (30%) had personally experienced domestic violence.
  • Nearly half of those who had experienced domestic violence reported that the violence affected their capacity to get to work.  The major reason was physical injury or restraint (67%), followed by hiding keys and failure to care for children.
  • Nearly one in five of those who had experienced domestic violence in the previous 12 months reported that the violence continued at the workplace.   
  • The major form the domestic violence took in the workplace was abusive phone calls and emails and the partner physically coming to work.
  • 48% of respondents who had experienced domestic violence did disclose the violence to a manager/supervisor, though only 10% found them helpful.
  • For those who did not discuss the problem at work, the major reason was privacy, followed by reasons of shame and fear of dismissal.
  • Over one third of the respondents who had experienced domestic violence reported the violence to the police.  25% of the respondents who had experienced domestic violence had obtained a protection order, but less than half (41%) included their workplace in the order. 
  • All respondents to the survey thought that domestic violence can impact on the work lives of employees and a high percentage (78%) believed that workplace entitlements could reduce the impact of domestic violence in the workplace.    

A full copy of the report is available from the recently launched website: www.dvandwork.unsw.edu.au

In addition to reporting on the survey results, the new website includes further information and resources, such as:

  • What to do about the impact of domestic violence in the workplace and how to plan policies and safety measures.
  • What to know if you are a worker experiencing domestic violence.
  • Why domestic violence is a workplace issue.
  • Law reform submissions.

These survey results provide a strong basis for the NTEU's continuing campaign on the elimination of violence, focussing upon our workplaces.  This campaign includes the development of domestic violence bargaining claims to support those staff experiencing domestic violence, including recognition of domestic violence within leave and flexible work arrangements.  

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