Myth Busting Domestic & Family Violence at Work

Myth Busting Domestic and Family Violence by Diversity Council Australia and Our Watch

Domestic and family violence is a critical issue in the workplace. If an employee is living with, or using, domestic and family violence, it will have an impact on the workplace through absenteeism, presenteeism and the costs of replacement hiring. Not to mention the personal impacts on those people living with family and domestic violence.

But we know from our conversations with Australian businesses, that there can still be a reluctance on the part of some organisations to address an issue that for so long was seen as something purely in the domain of the home. This resource uses evidence to tackle some common myths about domestic and family violence and provides tools and resources for Australian organisations to become leaders in prevention.

For a quick snapshot of the findingswatch the video.

Myths and facts about domestic and family violence and work

Myth #1: “Domestic and family violence doesn’t have anything to do with the workplace”

Reality: Domestic and family violence is a workplace issue. If an employee is living with, or using, domestic and family violence, it will have an impact on the workplace.

Myth #2: “Domestic and family violence only happens to [straight-cisgender] women”

Reality: Men can be victims of domestic and family violence. However, women and gender diverse people experience domestic and family violence at rates much higher than men.

Myth #3: “There aren’t any ‘perpetrators’ or ‘victims’ at our workplace”

Reality: There is no ‘typical’ or ‘standard’ person who uses or experiences domestic and family violence

Myth #4: “It’s not that bad, he doesn’t hit her”

Reality: Violence can take many forms, and physical violence is only one of them.

MYTH #5: “I don't want to get involved - its none of my business…”

Reality: Violence is everyone’s business, including workplaces. If you see it, or hear about it, it becomes your business.

Myth #6: “We aren’t therapists or lawyers, there’s nothing we can do.”

Reality: HR or managers can often be first responders to disclosures or revelations of domestic and family violence.

Myth #7: “If anyone at our organisation did that, we would just fire them…”

Reality: We need to stop it before it starts.

Download the Myth Buster

Want to use our research?

Materials contained in this document are © Copyright of DCA Ltd and Our Watch Ltd, 2021. If you wish to use any content contained in this report, please contact Diversity Council Australia at admin@dca.org.au, to seek consent.

Where you wish to refer to our research publicly, it must be correctly attributed to DCA and Our Watch. Formal attribution is required where references to research material are in a written format. Citing DCA and Our Watch as a source will suffice where the reference is made in a verbal format.

Watch the video below for a quick snapshot of the research findings.

Read transcript

Transcript

Myth #1: “Domestic and family violence doesn’t have anything to do with the workplace”

Lisa Annese, CEO Diversity Council Australia (00:13):

There is no one type of perpetrator or victim of domestic or family violence in Australia. People who experience domestic and family violence come from all walks of life in Australia, from every socioeconomic group, every background and every identity.

Myth #2: “Domestic and family violence only happens to (straight-cisgender) women”

Patty Kinnersly, CEO Our Watch (00:35):

Violence against women is a large portion of domestic and family violence, but it's not all of it. Men, children, and people who are gender diverse and intersex also experience family and domestic violence. And there are other types of violence against women beyond family and domestic violence, such as sexual harassment in the workplace.

Myth #3: “There aren’t any ‘perpetrators’ or ‘victims’ at our workplace”

Lisa Annese, CEO Diversity Council Australia (00:59):

HR or Managers can often be first responders in such a situation, and they can play a really important role in things such as providing referrals or simply being there to listen.

Myth #4: “It’s not that bad, he doesn’t hit her”

Patty Kinnersly, CEO Our Watch (01:11):

Violence is not always physical. It can be psychological, economic, emotional, spiritual. It can include sexual abuse as well as a wide-range of controlling behaviours. Non-physical forms of abuse are often overlooked or trivialised but can be just as serious and harmful as physical abuse.

 

Myth #5: “I don't want to get involved - its none of my business…”

Lisa Annese, CEO Diversity Council Australia (01:39):

We need to stop the behaviour before it starts and prioritize the safety and wellbeing of the victim and the survivor in the workplace.

 

Myth #6: “We aren’t therapists or lawyers, there’s nothing we can do.”

Lisa Annese, CEO Diversity Council Australia (01:50):

Workplaces should try to hold perpetrators to account for their actions and ensure that they maintain a safe working environment for victims and survivors of domestic and family violence.

Patty Kinnersly, CEO Our Watch (02:06):

We know violence, harassment and sexism occurs in the workplace and violence that occurs at home or in the community can have an impact at work. So it's very much a workplace matter and workplaces have a responsibility to create an environment that is safe and promotes equality.

 

Myth #7: “If anyone at our organisation did that, we would just fire them…”

Patty Kinnersly, CEO Our Watch (02:29):

Research tells us that when sexism and disrespect towards women goes unchallenged, it actually contributes to a culture where violence against women is more likely. And while not all disrespect leads to violence, all violence starts with disrespect. So it is everyone's business to challenge sexism and disrespect, and actually, it makes a huge difference when we do.

 

What can organisations do?

Lisa Annese, CEO Diversity Council Australia (02:56):

Organisations can do a lot of things with respect to family and domestic violence. They can sett out clear policies that address domestic and family violence in all of its forms, and they can help staff understand what they can do to be able to recognise if someone in their team is experiencing domestic or family violence. They should regularly communicate referral pathways and support services that are available, and they can create an environment that encourages people to feel safe and free to speak up if they have any concerns or are experiencing domestic and family violence.