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Domestic violence can affect productivity at work

12 December, 2011

There is a direct link between domestic violence and productivity in the workplace, with one in five victims experiencing continued harassment from their partners at work, a UNSW study has found.

A study conducted by UNSW’s Centre for Gender Related Violence Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, confirms that domestic violence affects employees capacity to get to work and their performance, productivity and safety.

The majority of the respondents were women (81%), two-thirds were in full-time employment and nearly two-thirds (64%) were over 45.

Nearly a third of the 3,600 respondents had personally experienced domestic violence, with half of those reporting that the violence prevented them from getting to work. Reasons given included being physically injured or restrained, keys being hidden and partners failing to care for children.

Domestic violence in the workplace took the form of abusive phone calls and emails, and the partner physically coming to work. The main reported impacts were being distracted, tired or unwell, needing to take time off, or being late for work.

"Having a job and staying economically independent is critical to surviving a violent relationship," said the Centre’s Ludo McFerran. "Our goal is to reduce the impact of domestic violence by supporting the victims to stay safely in their homes and in their jobs."

The survey was distributed through unions to encourage the introduction of domestic violence provisions in enterprise agreements.

Existing domestic violence clauses provide up to 20 days paid domestic violence leave to attend to matters such as attending court for a protection order.

The survey was undertaken as part of the Domestic Violence Workplace Rights and Entitlements Project conducted by the Centre and funded by the Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

Source: University of New South Wales (UNSW)

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Safety | Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 3:13 PM
I am using a pseudonym because I have been subjected to domestic violence abuse myself in the past. It spilled over into my workplace as the abuser used to phone, post and come in person to my workplace. It didn't just sometimes stop me from coming to work (being at work does not mean a person is productive at work ... i.e. presenteeism)it set work colleagues (mainly women) against each other as some supported me during this period and others condemned me for "bringing it to work". I was made to carry the shame and disgrace of the abuser's behaviour and actions. What is it that stops people from being humane at work? Abuse of power is unacceptable anywhere, anytime. I am so pleased to see that there is now a recognition and permission to take time off to deal with the fall-out of other peoples' behaviours. There but for the grace of God go I.
bruni brewin | Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 10:15 PM
Thank you for taking the trouble to have your say Safety. It seems often it is the abused that is made to feel shame - not the abuser. It can also mean the abused do not look for help to release the anxiety and fear associated around these issues, for fear of being looked down on. It is time we put the blame where it belongs and support those that suffer from it.