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Hunter Workers call for 10 days paid domestic violence leave

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“We all have a part to play in ending violence against women in our communities.”

Those are the words from Hunter Workers women’s committee chairperson Leanne Holmes, who together with its 70,000 members, is calling on the Federal Government to introduce 10 days paid domestic violence leave for all workers who need it.

Her plea comes as the world marks the start of the annual 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence.

On average, one woman is killed every week as a result of intimate partner violence – the financial cost of escaping that violence estimated to be $18,000.

Ms Holmes says being able to hold down a job is vital for survivors of DV, as many women are forced to return to their abuser if they can’t financially support themselves.

Providing survivors support directly through their employer, in the form of 10 days paid DV leave, she says, increases their chances of holding down their job long term and successfully escaping.

“We all have a part to play in ending violence against women in our communities, and employers have a responsibility to do their bit, too.

“We know that supporting women to not only keep their jobs but also have their workplace support them every step of the way, is imperative for successfully escaping DV.

“Over the pandemic, employers have benefited from working from home arrangements, but moving the workplace to the home means domestic violence is a workplace safety issue that employers are responsible for.”

The costs she adds, are minimal.

“Providing workers with 10 days paid domestic violence leave would cost employers just 5 cents per day, per worker.

“One-off support payments are a step in the right direction, but to successfully end this epidemic of violence, we need women to be fully supported by their workplaces.”

This year’s 16 Days of Activism will conclude on the 10th of December.

Hunter Workers is planning to mark the date by hosting a rally at Newcastle’s Civic Park calling for paid domestic violence leave.

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