Workplaces can create change and play a valuable role in preventing family and gender-based violence.
The important role of workplaces
We all have a role to play in preventing family and gender-based violence, and workplaces are one of many key settings for prevention work.
Most Victorians will spend a significant part of their lives in the workforce, but workplaces can sometimes be a site where gender inequality and disrespect towards women and other communities are reinforced, resulting in experiences of harassment, violence and discrimination.
We also know that workplaces can and must play a role in helping employees experiencing family violence, through access to family violence leave and other entitlements and supports
By focussing on workplaces as a key setting for prevention, we can attempt to address inequality and the gendered drivers of violence, and create safe and supportive environments for all employees.
The Gender Equality Act
Under the Gender Equality Act 2020, Victorian workplaces in the public sector, universities and local councils have a unique opportunity to carry out work that addresses the drivers of violence against women and creates more gender equitable work environments for all staff.
The Act is also the first piece of legislation in Australia to consider intersectionality as a critical lens through which to track gender equality. The Act recognises that for many Victorians, experiences of gender inequality can be compounded or shaped by other forms of disadvantage or discrimination such as racism, colonialism, ablism, agism, classism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, among others.
International evidence shows there is a strong correlation between communities with higher gender inequality and higher levels of gendered violence, with gender inequality exacerbating the impact and prevalence of the gendered drivers of violence.1
When managers and workplace leaders advocate for programs, policies and initiatives that promote safe, supportive and gender equal working environments, they are contributing to the prevention of violence against women.
Supporting Businesses and Workplaces to recognise and respond to family and domestic violence
Family violence is a workplace issue.
Workplaces are increasingly being recognised as settings where people experiencing family and domestic violence can seek support.
There are many ways that you can start to create change in your workplace. It is highly recommended all businesses prioritise the implementation of a tailored and accessible family and domestic violence workplace policy, as well as the cultivation of a compassionate, trauma-informed and supportive workplace culture that is family and domestic violence informed.
By learning how to recognise, respond and take action through our Small Steps: Bystander Action for Equality training, you can safely and effectively challenge sexist attitudes in the workplace.
Policies that are meaningfully embedded with staff training and engagement can lead to safer and more productive outcomes. It’s important that your business accesses specialist expertise early, so that you are equipped to respond safely. Your business can be part of the solution.