Family Violence is a community issue
19 August 2011
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) says today’s Discussion Paper by the Australian Law Reform Commission Family Violence – Commonwealth Laws serves a useful purpose in putting a public spotlight on a real social problem. However the Law Reform Commission misses the mark in suggesting that legal approaches involving third parties such as employers are solutions and goes too far in proposing new employment rights such as paid time off to deal with the effects of family violence.
ACCI Chief Executive Peter Anderson said, "family violence touches persons whether they are employees, self-employed, unemployed, or not looking for work. It is primarily a domestic and community issue. Creating new workplace rights would discriminate against victims who are not employed, and unfairly imposes obligations on employers over issues that are not of their making and for privacy reasons usually none of their business.”
“Solutions lie in improving community attitudes and values, more efficient and effective support services and intervention for victims, and stronger law enforcement against perpetrators," he said.
“Employers need to be sensitive to the welfare of employees and many go well beyond their legal obligations in assisting staff to deal with difficult personal circumstances. Australian employers also provide extensive personal leave and this can be used for legitimate health and caring purposes that arise from family violence. "
“Solutions must be owned by the community at large. Creating new rights muddies the waters and would be an unnecessary diversion for victim groups and industry," Peter Anderson said.
ACCI made submissions to and met with the Law Reform Commission in the lead up to today’s Discussion Paper.