Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month

Domestic Abuse

Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month is held each year during the month of May to raise awareness about domestic and family violence.

Domestic violence is a significant issue in Australia that can negatively affect many individuals, families, children and the broader community.

The Australian Bureau of Statics (ABS) 2016 Personal Safety Survey (PSS) indicates that 1 in 6 women (1.6 million) and 1 in 16 men (548,000) have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or previous partner since the age of 15.

In 2019, one in three homicide offences and sexual assaults recorded by the police were family and domestic related.

These figures are alarmingly high.  However, these are just cases that have been reported.  Unfortunately, many cases of domestic violence remain unreported due to fear and trauma.  This is why it is important for people to be aware of the effects that domestic violence has and to encourage survivors, not victims, of domestic violence to report it.

If you are experiencing family and domestic violence or you know someone that is, then you should contact a domestic violence support service for advice.

Family and Domestic Violence Leave

Domestic violence is not only a community issue but also a workplace issue, which has a real impact on employees and employers.

Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), all employees (full-time, part-time and casuals) are entitled to 5 days unpaid family and domestic violence leave in a 12 month period.

An employee may take unpaid family and domestic violence leave if:

  • they  are experiencing family and domestic violence;
  • they need to do something to deal with the impact of the family and domestic violence; and
  • it is impractical for them to do that thing outside their ordinary hours of work.

Family and domestic violence leave does not accumulate from year to year.  Therefore, any unused leave will not roll over to the following year.

An employer and employee may agree for an employee to take more than 5 days of unpaid leave to deal wit the impact of family and domestic violence.

What is family and domestic violence?

Family and domestic violence can occur in many different ways.  It can include physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or financial (withholding money) abuse.

However, for the purposes of the Fair Work Act, family and domestic violence means violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by an employee’s close relative that:

  • seeks to coerce or control the employee; or
  • causes the employee harm or to be fearful.

Close Relative

A close relative of the employee is a person who:

  • is a member of the employee’s immediate family, being:
    • a spouse, de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of the employee; or
    • a child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling of a spouse or de facto partner of the employee; or
  • is related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rule.

If you are seeking advice regarding domestic violence leave, contact Anderson Gray Lawyers to assist you with your enquiry.