According to a recent article by the Law Society Journal (LSJ) casual and part-time workers are now entitled to receive 10 days leave for family and domestic violence (DV) leave. Why is this important? Casual and part-time workers are in no way immune to family or domestic violence. It simply isn’t fair to let some workers get paid leave, without considering the needs of other workers. Learn more
Family or domestic violence entails any threatening or violent behaviour by a person who intends to control the victim, or force the victim, such that it causes great harm to the victim, or causes them to be fearful.
Moreover, prior to this, workers were only entitled to receive 5-days leave for DV. After a review conducted by the Fair Work Commission (FWC), the leave entitlement was increased to include 10-days paid leave. For these reasons, this is being hailed as a landmark legislation. This will greatly benefit casual and part-time workers who face instances of family and domestic violence at their homes.
Casual and part-time employees can take FDV leave if they:
- Have been dealing with domestic or family violence
- Need to address it, and do something to deal with the impact of the violence
- Are unable to address it, or deal with FDV outside of their work hours
Domestic violence can lead to mental distress and often severe illnesses like depression. Moreover, parties who are being subjected to domestic or family violence need ample of time to address the violence against them and take appropriate steps to lodge a complaint. These processes require a lot of time, and mental strength. Paid leave by employers will aid victims of FDV.
Issue of Domestic Violence in Australia
Domestic violence is pervasive in the Australian society. In any article or blog that we come across, it becomes evident that women are disproportionately affected by FDV. In other words, women are most commonly the victims of family or domestic violence. Moreover, statistically, it is found that DV is an abuse of power within many intimate relationships.
DV can occur in a variety of different forms including physical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse or economic or financial abuse. Physical abuse includes causing physical injury, sexually abusing the victim, or denying medical care or food or warmth.
On the other hand, verbal abuse is done with the intent to degrade and humiliate a person. This can cause grave psychological distress. Often, it is hard for victims of verbal forms of domestic abuse to prove that they are being subjected to FDV. However, a lot of importance is being given to psychological well-being of people. Therefore, verbal abuse is also considered with a high level of seriousness when dealing with FDV.
Economic abuse happens when a person seizes the financial assets of another person. Moreover, some people ensure that the other person suffers from deprivation of basic necessities. Lastly, social abuse also exists wherein a person may deliberately isolate another person. This also affects their mental health and is a serious form of domestic abuse.
Legal Steps to Take If You Experience Family or Domestic Violence
It is important to acknowledge the impacts that FDV can have on you. We have support systems in our society that can help victims to address such stressful situations. From a legal perspective, as an initial step, you can look into making an application for an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order or ADVO.
An ADVO acts like a restraining order. It prevents a person from committing acts of violence against the victim. It is not uncommon for the victim to get in touch with a police officer. There are Domestic Violence Liaison Officers who are experts in dealing with family or domestic violence situations. These officers can apply for ADVOs as well.
It is important to get in touch with family lawyers who can help you navigate your situation from a legal standpoint.
John Bui is the Principal Solicitor of JB Solicitors – a law firm based in Sydney, Australia. John has extensive knowledge in the areas of family law and commercial litigation.