of Australia’s economy in 2015 was related to domestic violence

is attributed to employers cost due to the impact of violence against women and their children

of women in Australia subject to intimate partner violence are employed

Domestic & Family Violence – Prevalence and Scale

It is well known that at least one woman is killed every week in Australia at the hands of a current or former partner. It is also well documented that domestic and family violence goes largely un-reported. Despite this under-reporting, statistics on DFV related incidents recorded by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research show a 2.5% increase over the past 5 years.

The COVID 19 pandemic over the past two years has further exacerbated the problem. Reports of domestic violence related assaults increased by almost 50 per cent in parts of Sydney in the past two years, with areas such as Sutherland, the Eastern Suburbs, the Hills Shire and Ryde recording some of the biggest spikes.

Domestic & Family Violence – A Workplace Issue

Domestic & Family Violence is an issue that affects mostly women, but transcends age, all levels of income and occupation. In fact, it affects our society as a whole in a myriad of ways. With one in six women and one in sixteen men having experienced violence from a current or former intimate partner – it is inevitable that this is an issue impacting your employees.

Furthermore, domestic and family violence is not just a “personal issue”. There are significant costs and negative impacts that will flow through to the workplace.

  • Intimate partner violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and illness in women aged 15 to 44 years. It is responsible for more of the disease burden in women than many other well-known risk factors, such as smoking and obesity.
  • In 2015, the cost of intimate partner violence to the Australian economy overall was estimated to be $21.7 billion.
  • The impact of violence against women and their children is estimated to cost employers in Australia nearly $2 billion a year (KPMG, 2016).
  • In Australia, 62% of women subject to intimate partner violence are employed (Cortis & Bullen, 2016). That is, approximately 800,000 women, or around one in six female workers.
  • Some common workplace costs and impacts include:
    • Decreased staff performance and productivity
    • Increased staff turnover and absenteeism
    • Negative impact on the organisation’s reputation and image (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2015)

Open Support Domestic & Family Violence Briefings

Discussing domestic violence can be difficult, especially in the workplace. But it is vital that organisations create an environment where employees feel safe to speak up, feel heard and supported. This starts with understanding and awareness at all levels of the organisation.

Our briefings are conducted by a member of our Open Support DFV Team who is an expert in the domestic and family violence space.

During the briefing we will cover:

  • Definitions of domestic & family violence and common myths & misconceptions
  • Information on how to recognise coercive or abusive relationships
  • What support and assistance is available and how to access it
  • How to respond when a friend/colleague or loved one discloses abuse

Our briefings run for 45mins to allow for question time. We suggest that the corporate organization organizes a morning tea or lunch and learn. We also suggest making it compulsory so people do not feel embarrassed to attend and the knowledge is shared with all. We can also proceed in an online environment should lock downs be in place.

For participating organisations, we can also offer linkage and referral guidance to HR departments to assist in responding and supporting employees who may be impacted.

Open Support Domestic & Family Violence Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

Open Supports Domestic & Family Violence EAP is a confidential service, dedicated to supporting those in your organisation who are experiencing or have recently experienced Domestic or Family Violence (DFV). There is no cost to an employee of an enrolled organisation for accessing this service.

Employees will have access to professional and experienced Open Support DFV Case Managers, who will work with individuals to address the issues and impacts that arise through the experience of DFV.

Open Support is staffed Mon-Fri 9am-4pm. Please note that this is not a crisis hotline. If you are in immediate danger or in need of urgent assistance please contact 000 or DV Line on 1800 656 463.


Open Support’s DFV EAP is an independent and confidential service and our workers will work directly with employees to address their individual issues and concerns. We will not share any identifying details with the individual’s employer or anyone else unless they specifically request it, or we are bound to disclose something by law.

We are committed to and are bound by the provisions of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) which are set out in the Australian Privacy Principles and govern the way in which we hold, use and disclose your personal information.

Employee Needs

  • Are you in a relationship where you don’t feel respected and safe?
  • Does the other person try to control you or restrict your personal choices?
  • Does the other person threaten or deliberately hurt you or those you care about?
  • Are you thinking about leaving an abusive relationship but confused on where to get help?

To Enrol in the Program

Organisations wishing to offer this service to their team should contact apower@opensupport.org.au.

Every person deserves to live an empowered life.
A life free from fear.

For more information about this program contact apower@opensupport.org.au

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