Domestic and Family Violence
Drake WorkWise Team
In the month of November, we recognise White Ribbon Day and the United Nations 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. In 2020, this cause is more important than ever, as the world was asked to stay home to curb the impact of COVID-19, which has seen an alarming increase in cases of domestic and family violence.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare before the pandemic, 1 in 6 women experience physical or sexual violence, perpetrated by a current or previous cohabiting partner and 1 in 4 women experience emotional abuse from a partner. However, for many women in Australia, the pandemic coincided with the onset or escalation of violence and abuse.
What is domestic and family violence
Domestic and family violence happens when one person in a relationship hurts another or makes them feel unsafe. It can happen in any kind of relationship — not just with intimate partners. Abusive behaviour is not just physical violence, it can be verbal, psychological, emotional, financial, sexual, spiritual and religious or harassment and stalking.
Violence against women occurs when power and resources are unequally distributed, or men feel the need to confirm with gender norms. Societal and cultural attitudes that condone or tolerate violence play a key role in how we act, these include excusing behaviour by attributing it to external factors (such as stress), minimising it’s seriousness or shifting the blame from the perpetrator to the victim.
Preventing and providing support
Preventing violence starts with promoting equal and respectful relationships, reducing exposure to violence, encouraging nonviolent social norms, and improving access to resources and systems of support. Workplaces can assist by taking a leadership role in providing education and establishing guidelines, policies and procedures for supporting victims and survivors. This can include discussing their long- and short-term requirements, discussing a safety plan, and informing employees of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
Whilst many victims of domestic violence find it hard to hold down a job it can provide economic independence, a support network and build self-esteem. Victims and survivors are at times targeted by the perpetrator at work to cause disruption. Perpetrators often force their victim/survivor to resign or get them fired to increase control, economic dependency, undermine their self-confidence or to punish them for attempting to leave the violent relationship. Organisations have a duty of care to their employees to provide a safe workplace.
When approaching a colleague you have concerns for;
- Remember there may be complex factors when someone is experiencing domestic or family violence
- Approach with sensitivity
- Believe what they tell you
- Take the abuse seriously
- Respect their right to make their own decisions
- Blame them for the abuse
- Be judgmental
- Be critical or criticise their partner
- Pressure them to leave
Where to go for help?
How to report domestic and family violence
- Call AU 000 or NZ 111 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger.
- If the incident is not urgent, you can get advice from 1800RESPECT or Drake WorkWise EAP
- If you don’t feel comfortable, get someone you trust to call the police for you. You don’t have to give your name and contact details if you don’t want to.
Local support networks
Click below to find a support service near you.
Resources for men
DV Connect - https://www.dvconnect.org/mensline/
Relationships Australia - https://www.relationshipsnsw.org.au/what-to-do-if-you-are-a-male-victim-of-domestic-violence/
Blokes Psychology - https://blokespsychology.com.au/
Mensline - www.mensline.org.au
Contact EAP for support
Whether you or someone you know has experienced domestic violence or is experiencing it now and requires support, Drake WorkWise EAP is here to help.
Please note, if you feel your safety or another's safety is at serious risk, please always remember to call 000 in Australia and 111 in New Zealand, for emergency assistance.
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