The statistics on violence against women in Australia are shocking.
On average, at least one woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner in Australia.
One in four Australian women has experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner.
Women are five times more likely than men to require medical attention or hospitalisation as a result of intimate partner violence and five times more likely to report fearing for their lives.
Half of victims have children in their care. And there is evidence that women with disabilities experience high levels of violence and that Indigenous women experience higher rates of more severe forms of violence than the rest of the population.
Listen to Mia Freedman’s moving interview with domestic violence advocate, Rosie Batty. (Post continues after podcast…)
Domestic violence is the leading cause of death, disability and illness among women aged 15-44 years – higher than motor vehicle accidents, blood pressure or smoking.
It destroys individuals, families and communities.
It also costs the Australian economy around 1 percent of GDP annually in lost productivity and other costs.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that around two thirds of women who experience domestic violence are in the workforce. That means that more than 800,000 women– or around one in six women workers – are experiencing some form of violence in their home.
Given these numbers, it is clear that a large number of workplaces employ women who are experiencing domestic violence.
Apart from the personal impact of violence, there are costs to employers when a worker is living with violence.
These include increased absenteeism and staff turnover, decreased performance and productivity, conflict among workers and safety issues for everyone if the perpetrator of violence goes to the workplace – which we know occurs at alarming rates.
In a report into the economic aspects of domestic violence leave by the Australia Institute, Dr Jim Stanford confirmed what domestic violence counsellors have been saying for decades – that economic insecurity is one of the most significant obstacles confronting women in their decision to leave a violent relationship.