10 Days Paid Domestic Violence Leave a "game-changer"
Samantha Schulte, a survivor of domestic violence and survivor-advocate with Full Stop Australia, has said she could have escaped years earlier if domestic violence leave had been available.
Samantha Schulte spent five years trying to access services to escape domestic violence, not being able to take time off work to access the services she desperately needed.
"When you're a victim of domestic violence, trying to seek help is a full-time job. It's a full-time job to be a survivor. It's a full-time job being a parent," Ms Schulte said.
"This is fabulous news for survivors of domestic and family violence."
Full Stop Australia welcomes the announcement by the Federal Government to introduce legislation in Parliament on Thursday to ensure that women escaping violence can access 10 paid days domestic violence leave.
In the first week of Parliament, the Federal Government has signaled their intention to introduce legislation to ensure workers can access 10 days paid domestic and family violence leave.
This legislation will ensure the millions of workers, including casual workers, will be eligible to access 10 days paid domestic and family violence leave.
Full Stop Australia Chief Executive Officer, Hayley Foster, said this legislation will be a "game-changer" for victim-survivors of domestic and family violence stuck in an unsafe situation at home whilst maintaining critical social and economic support.
"We congratulate the Federal Government for making women's safety a priority by introducing this landmark legislation in the first week of Parliament sitting," Ms Foster said.
"This is a recognition of the incredible cost domestic and family violence has on individuals, workplaces and the economy – over $26 billion each year mostly borne by victim-survivors and their employers."
"Escaping from a domestic violence situation is a huge ordeal; it often involves health, housing and legal appointments, as well as court appearances, all of which are only available during business hours."
"A survivor of domestic abuse shouldn't have to choose between escaping violence and losing their job."
"Family violence is a workplace issue and providing adequate Family and Domestic Violence leave is crucial for ensuring women can leave violent relationships and maintain their employment and economic security."
Whilst welcoming the legislation, Ms Schulte said that it is vital employers receive training to support their employees in accessing these new entitlements.
"It is so important employers be trained to approach domestic violence leave in a supportive way, recognising that this could be the first time a survivor tells someone about what has happened to them," Ms Schulte said.
Ms Foster said leading employers are already looking at their policies and procedures when it comes to supporting their employees impacted by domestic, family and sexual violence, and upskilling first responders.
"We're really committed to supporting any employer who wants to create a safer and more supportive workplace for their employees who have experienced violence at home," Ms Foster said.
Call the National Violence and Abuse Trauma Counselling and Recovery Service on 1800 FULL STOP (1800 385 578) or chat online at www.fullstop.org.au for 24/7, free, confidential counselling.
Call Full Stop Australia on (02) 8585 0333 or visit www.fullstop.org.au to find out more about safe and respectful workplace solutions.