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Providing support for victims of domestic violence: how EnergyAustralia can help

Marina

The statistics are confronting. Currently, domestic violence is the leading preventable contributor to death, disability and illness in women aged 15-44 years. Two-thirds of women affected by domestic violence are in paid employment, and one in five who have experienced domestic violence said that the violence had impacted their working life, in that they had been followed, harassed by phone or email, or physically restrained from attending work.

 

On July 23, author and domestic violence advocate Phil Cleary, Launch Housing program manager Claire Henderson and EnergyAustralia non-executive director Marina Go discussed the impact of domestic violence on victims, and how EnergyAustralia can assist with better systems, education and work practices to support those affected.

 

EnergyAustralia’s Head of Human Resources – Customer, Lisa Fleming, who helped arrange the panel, says family and domestic violence takes many forms beyond physical abuse, including emotional, psychological, economic and financial abuse.  "Whenever behaviour is controlling and dominating and causes the family member to fear for their wellbeing – that’s domestic violence,” she said. “There’s a misconception that this is rare, or only happens in certain socio-economic groups or cultures. It’s more prevalent than most people would realise. The very shocking stories you often see in the media are sadly only the tip of the iceberg.”

 

Phil Cleary, a familiar face when it comes to the fight against gender-based crimes, has been tackling violence against women since the 80’s when his sister was tragically murdered by an ex-partner. Phil has always seen himself as someone who believes in justice and equality “If you hear someone say something, that is an opening for a conversation – we can’t be bystanders”

 

PHIL

 

EnergyAustralia’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity also extends to customers. From January 2020, all essential service providers, including EnergyAustralia, are required to train staff on the sensitivities and best processes for working with customers and staff who are dealing with the impact of family and domestic violence.

 

 As part of EnergyAustralia’s Diversity & Inclusion program for employees, the Family Violence Education and Support initiative provides the following:

  • materials including a detailed online resource
  • an employee and leader toolkit outlining the processes to help employees impacted by family violence.
  • specially trained family-violence contact officers available
  • special leave for employees impacted by family violence
     

“As an employer at EnergyAustralia of 2500 staff and an essential services provider looking after 2.5 million customers, we must work better to protect those vulnerable, and be part of the solution that makes a difference long term,” Executive Manager Customer Relationship David Ackland told the audience, as he opened the panel.

 

EnergyAustralia’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity also extends to customers. From January 2020, all essential service providers, including EnergyAustralia, are required to train staff on the sensitivities and best processes for working with customers and staff who are dealing with the impact of family and domestic violence.

Claire

 

EnergyAustralia’s staff also choose to support Launch Housing as part of their workplace giving program. Claire from Launch housing noted that homelessness is often caused by family violence – it is the leading cause in Australia. "

We believe housing is a basic human right that affords people dignity. Everyone has a right to a home and it’s our job to make that happen” 

EnergyAustralia also has a hardship policy in place to assist those who are impacted and need assistance.

 

If you or someone you know needs support, you can contact 1800 RESPECT: 1800 737 732 for help.

1800 RESPECT are a National sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.  They are specialists in the area of domestic