“The automatic reaction is ‘it’s none of my business’,” said Women’s Legal Service Queensland coordinator Rosslyn Monro.
“The automatic reaction is ‘it’s none of my business’,” said Women’s Legal Service Queensland coordinator Rosslyn Monro. Claudia Baxter

Paid leave for domestic violence victims recommended

A QUEENSLAND legal service for women says employers should implement changes that make it easier for domestic violence victims, including introducing paid leave, to allow victims to attend court.

A special taskforce, led by former Australian Governor-General Quentin Bryce, into domestic violence in Queensland has listed 140 recommendations for the government to consider, including changing the Industrial Relations Act to create a new category of leave for public servants who experienced domestic violence.

The 10 days of paid leave would allow them to recover from injury, find accommodation or appear at court.

Women's Legal Service Queensland coordinator Rosslyn Monro said paid leave for victims was a policy the service had enacted in its organisation and believed it was "best practice" for all employers.

"In our clients' experience, quite often their employment is at risk because they are in workplaces that perhaps are not supportive and are not in a position to be able to share their circumstances," Ms Monro said.

"It is a big signal for the employer that they take domestic violence seriously by having those conditions in place."

She said it would be up to employers to conduct "sensitive conversations" and implement policies that would suit the workplace, if victims submitted evidence of court appearances.

Another recommendation was for the government to lead the way in modelling workplaces that addressed domestic violence, and fund a program for employers and businesses to build supportive workplaces for victims.

Ms Monro said this would also be helpful because many people did not know how to respond to domestic violent situations.

"The automatic reaction is 'it's none of my business'," she said.

Communities, Women And Youth Minister Shannon Fentiman said she supported the recommendations for paid leave and training programs in the workplace, but would work with her colleagues as part of the government's response.

- APN NEWSDESK



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