May 22, 2013

MEDIA RELEASE: Domestic violence victims denied dedicated support by Charles Sturt University

Charles Sturt University has bucked a growing trend to recognise the impacts of domestic violence in the workplace, ruling out specific support including dedicated paid leave for victims, the Public Service Association of NSW (PSA/CPSU) said today.

The University has confirmed it will not agree to provide for additional paid leave for staff experiencing domestic violence as part of current enterprise agreement negotiations.

Leave to support staff experiencing domestic violence – both on a personal level and to formally help them keep employment – has been a key work condition requested by University workers.

The proposed domestic violence clause, rejected by the University, is based on years of research by the Family and Domestic Violence Clearinghouse at the University of NSW into effective support for victims. It is now included in many public and private sector workplace agreement.

“The impacts of domestic violence on victims and their families can be brutal and far- reaching. Sadly, too often the severe consequences can extend to losing their connection to employment,” PSA Senior Industrial Officer Andrew Holland said today.

“Charles Sturt University should be a model employer in its support for employees facing domestic violence, rather than resisting support measures.

“Having dedicated, paid leave for staff experiencing domestic violence, or taking action to stop abuse, gives victims a better chance of addressing their circumstances – without additional stigma or discomfort.

“Additional measures such as confidentiality guarantees and the ability to access flexible working arrangement where appropriate also provide a safety net to help people get through difficult circumstances arising from domestic violence.

“Community attitudes and workplace strategies for supporting domestic violence victims have progressed significantly in recent years.

“We urge Charles Sturt University to acknowledge its responsibility and accept an enterprise agreement which sensitively and fairly delivers workplace support for victims of domestic violence,” Mr Holland said.

Contact: Andrew Holland 0418 236 867 / Jane Garcia 0434 489 533

 Key Principles for Domestic Violence Leave

From the Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse at the University of NSW

1. Dedicated additional paid leave for employees experiencing family or domestic violence;

2. Confidentiality of employee details must be assured and respected;

3. Workplace safety planning strategies to ensure protection of employees should be developed and clearly understood by the parties concerned;

4. The agreement should provide for referral of employees to appropriate domestic violence support services;

5. Provision of appropriate training and paid time off work for agreed roles for nominated contact

persons (including union delegates or health and safety representatives if necessary);

6. Employees entitled to family and domestic violence leave should also be able to access flexible work arrangements where appropriate; and

7. Employees must be protected against adverse action or discrimination on the basis of their disclosure of, experience of, or perceived experience of, family and domestic violence.

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