Family and Domestic Violence (FDV)

Family and domestic violence is any act of violence that occurs between people who have a relationship in domestic settings. FDV can take the form of physical, sexual, emotional, financial and/or psychological abuse and is not always confined to one form of abuse at a time. Statistics clearly indicate that domestic violence is most commonly perpetrated by males against their female partners, but violence is also found within same-sex relationships and many men experience violence from their female partners.

The Australian Institute of Criminology study that analysed incidents of homicide in Australia between 1989 and1999 found that 20.8% of all homicides involved intimate partners. Back in the late 90’s, this basically represented approximately 76 homicide deaths within Australia each year being a direct result of domestic violence.

The data gathered also showed that over three-quarters (76.9%) of these intimate partner homicides involved a male offender and a female victim.

Unfortunately, unlike some societal issues these days, domestic violence is not new. Is domestic violence on the rise or do we just hear about it more? The increased public awareness of FDV and its implications are more than likely a result of more media attention and the fact that women are in the workforce more than they were 30 years ago.

People experiencing FDV can no longer hide away until the injuries or physical signs disappear. They still need to go to work while also trying to juggle restraining orders, moving house, child care and court appearances. This no longer can be or should be something that victims hide or suffer alone.

Women experience violence in public places, at work and at home. Employers need to develop family friendly policies and procedures that cater for the needs of an employee experiencing DV.

AEU working to improve support for members experiencing FDV

As part of its commitment to a safer community, the AEU believes that we need a strategic and comprehensive approach to violence against women. In the last two rounds of Enterprise Bargaining the AEU has tabled a clause that provides for paid time, access to counselling and guaranteed confidentiality for Department for Education (DfE) employees needing to deal with a FDV situation. This clause was partially accepted by the Department for the 2012 Award.

During the recent enterprise bargaining the AEU tabled further improvements to and strengthening of this DV clause with great success.  The Department acknowledges that employees experiencing FDV may need to access leave entitlements to deal with resulting issues and have provided for this leave within the existing Special Leave policy.
Since 1 July 2016, employees experiencing FDV can access 15 days of paid Special Leave for Domestic Relationship Violence.  These 15 days are not considered to be part of the general 15 days special leave for individual needs and responsibilities – it is in addition to any other form of leave. If these 15 days are exhausted, employees can, with approval, access further Special Leave with pay under Urgent Pressing Business.

Further to providing improved leave conditions for employees experiencing FDV, The Department have identified two officers within DfE who are responsible for working with any employee needing assistance to deal with work related FDV issues.  (See below)

Are you affected by family and domestic violence?

For information and assistance follow the links below:
For information on the workplace support and provisions available to Department employees experiencing domestic and family violence, including leave, flexible working arrangements and safety in the workplace contact:   
Melia Stone
People and Culture Business Partner
Phone: 8226 5956 or Email: [email protected]
[email protected]

For employees requiring wellbeing support and advice due to domestic or family violence contact:
Jane Richards, Manager
Employee Psychology and Wellness
Phone: 8226 0744 or Email: [email protected] 

DfE web page Supporting staff experiencing domestic violence:

DfE  ‘Domestic violence workplace procedure’:
•    1800 RESPECT  
•    Domestic Violence Help - Lifeline
•    Relationships Australia – South Australia   
•    Yarrow Place Sexual Assault Service  

Further to this the DfE also offer:
Flexible work options if/when there is a need to reduce time or relocate and confidential support can be sought through Melia Stone (above).
Paid leave under clause of the Special Leave Policy which states:
"An employee in the workplace who may be suffering from or escaping domestic/family violence may access up to 15 days special leave with pay (pro rata for part-time employees).  Domestic/family violence leave is not considered to be part of the general 15 days special leave for individual needs and responsibilities. It is in addition to any other existing leave entitlements and may be taken as consecutive or single days or hours."
In the event that the 15 days of specific family/domestic violence paid leave is exhausted through meetings, legal action, moving house, changing schools (for you or your children), counselling, court appearances etc., further paid leave days can be applied for and granted under special leave.
If you or someone you know is experiencing family/domestic violence please do not hesitate to contact Tish Champion (Phone 8172 6300 or via email [email protected]) at the AEU for advice and support with contacting the DfE and negotiating paid leave and/or support.