Domestic violence is often invisible in the workplace until victims feel reassured that it is safe—and worthwhile—to disclose. So it’s easy for employers to believe it doesn’t happen ‘in my business’ or ‘in this sector’.
Possibly the most important thing an employer can do is to appoint the right people as ‘first responders’, and provide these people with specialist training. The second important step to take is to make sure that all staff know they can go to one of these people for help and support if they are experiencing domestic violence.
The law also allows employers to require ‘proof’ of the domestic violence before responding to such requests. Shine strongly urges employers to NOT require such proof. This is akin to telling an employee experiencing domestic violence that ‘we will not believe you’, and will stop people from requesting this support…
A number of large employers like Westpac and Stuff have been offering paid domestic violence leave without requiring proof for a couple of years or more. These employers vouch that the uptake is low, generally in increments of hours or 1-2 days, with no suspected or known instances of employees lying about their situation to access this leave.”