We’re committed to helping stop violence against women, not just to support our employees, but to support our customers and the communities we operate in.
It may be referred to as domestic violence, but this isn’t an issue that stays at home. One in five experience domestic violence. For a significant number of Australians, domestic violence stops them from getting to work, stops them doing their job, and puts them and their co-workers at risk.
Violence against women occurs on a continuum from psychological, economic and emotional abuse through to physical and sexual violence. It is the biggest contributor to ill health and premature death in women aged 15–44.
The statistics are scary, and it’s a conversation that needs to be had. This is why we are ensuring our staff have the necessary tools, resources, and support, so that whether they are the subject of domestic violence or suspect a colleague is in this situation, they can take action and put an end to it.
It’s not just physical
Domestic abuse extends beyond physical harm. According to the Restoring Financial Safety 2015 report, an estimated two million women in Australia have experienced financial abuse – a form of family violence that negatively impacts a person financially and undermines their efforts to become economically independent.
Ensuring we do the right thing for our employees and customers facing this sort of hardship is why we became one of 12 companies, and the first energy company, to create a Financial Inclusion Action Plan (FIAP).
We officially launched our FIAP today in Sydney, as part of a conference on resilient women where our Managing Director Catherine Tanna spoke on the importance of financial inclusion.
Our FIAP outlines the 19 actions we will be taking to strengthen financial inclusion and resilience for our employees and customers experiencing exclusion and hardship.
One of these actions is identifying and evaluating how our policies and practices support customers experiencing and exiting abusive relationships. This could mean we reassess how we manage the debt of those customers and support them to re-establish themselves.
We will also be reviewing and strengthening the way our employees learn about financial inclusion and the issues that lead to it. By improving their understanding it will equip them to better address these issues.
Our FIAP will be achieved by working with knowledgeable program partners such as Good Shepherd Microfinance, Australian Federal Government, EY and the Centre for Social Impact on initiatives designed to improve financial inclusion.