Domestic Violence – Small business owners what can you do

The curse of it

We must all have felt that the relation between an employee and an employer is that of a professional nature, however, time has come for the employers to start getting personal when it comes to the protection of their employees. Domestic violence is a serious threat and the numbers of cases regarding abuse are fast increasing in number throughout Gold Coast, Australia. We all believe that work and the matters of house should be kept away from each other, but is that the case when it comes to domestic violence?

Not all of us are as lucky and have to spend their lives under unbearable situations, being dominated by family members, struggling to get accepted on whatever terms that are thrown at them. Research shows the victims of violence are often weaker women who do not know how to defend themselves and neither have anyone to turn to in the time of need. Beaten both figuratively and literally, these individuals allow their lives to be ruled by others.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence can be of many types. Sometimes the victim of these incidents does not even realise that they are being subjected to it. It is not only consistent  of being physically abused alone, but even harsh behaviours that lead to the victim being threatened, violated or pressurised come under the category of domestic violence. Even of someone who you are dependent upon threatens or try to cut out the basic amount that help you survive, consider yourself a victim.

As an employer, what should I do?

Most of the people, especially women, decide not to report the authorities in order to save their home from breaking apart. As an employee it is your responsibility to not only ask after your employees but also be aware of any lack of performance or physical evidences of wounds inflicted. It is not the personal matter of the employee if they are being abused and by encouraging them to speak about it you can help victims who have lost all hope of escaping the misery

The first step towards helping your employees is to tell them that they would be heard. Not only would their sentiments be kept in confidence, assure them of assistance in case they need help with finances or guidance. Organise seminars about the extent to which the authorities could help the employees suffering from domestic abuse. While we sit comfortably thinking we are far away from trouble, research shows that this disease is spreading like a fire and it might only be a matter of days before someone you know might start getting affected by it.

What to do if there are victims among your employees?

There are many things that you can do to get aware of the situation if you are an employer and want to aid those affected working under you.


Being an employee you can:

  • Read and research about the root causes of domestic violence.
  • Donate for charities that support the victims of domestic abuse. (For eg. Gold Coast Domestic Violence.) And create special funds for those who are deprived of what they earn forcefully.
  • Volunteer yourself as an active member of such a trust.
  • Encourage your employees to report the authorities. Gold Coast and Australia wide have many laws that consider domestic violence of all types to be a severe crime. Under the legislation the case of domestic violence on a woman can also come under an act of discrimination against the individual.
  • Urge your workers to learn to defend themselves and not hesitate to strike back in order of defending yourself. You can support your evidence by the fact that any damage that occurs is the responsibility of the individual who started it. It might also put a stop to the tyranny if the one imposing the violence realises that your workers) are no longer scared.
  • Make sure they know that they are not on their own. If they are taking violence from their family members just because they have nowhere else to go, then it is your duty to inform them of alternatives. There are hundreds of organisations who would not only provide victims with decent accommodations, but also important advice that would help them fight for their rights.

Below is some information sourced from Domestic Violence Prevention Centre.

As a Friend, a co-worker, or an employer we can all help to stamp out domestic violence and be there for those that need the support. 

How you can help – For many women, friends and family are often the first people they talk to about domestic violence. It takes a lot of time, planning, help and courage to escape domestic violence. It is important for women to know that help is available from people who know and care about the situation. 

Listen without judging her – Tell your friend that you care and are willing to listen. If she is willing to talk, listen carefully and empathically in a safe place. Believe her. Never blame her for what’s happening or under estimate her fear of danger. Let her know that no one deserves to be abused, beaten or threatened. 

Allow her to make her own decisions – As you listen try to understand the many obstacles that prevent her from leaving. It’s usually very complex. Focus on supporting her in making her own decisions. If she is being abused then he is exercising a lot of control over her life. It is very important she is encouraged to make choices for herself even if it means staying with the abuser for now.  It is often the first step towards freedom. Even if she leaves him and then goes back, don’t withdraw your support. 

Guide her to a specialist domestic violence support service – Many women who have found freedom describe someone they knew (a neighbour, doctor, friend) offering support and referring them to a support service. Let her know she is not alone and that people are available to help her. Assure her that they will keep information about her confidential. Many women first seek the advice of marriage counsellors, psychiatrists, church and others.  Unfortunately not all helping professionals are fully aware of the complexities of domestic violence and the safety issues she faces. If the first person she contacts is not helpful, encourage her to speak to the Domestic Violence Prevention Centre Gold Coast Inc. on 5532 9000. 

 Help her make a safety plan – Your friend may decide to remain in the violent relationship or return to the abuser after a temporary separation. Don’t pressure her to leave but let her know that you are afraid for her and her children and help her consider how dangerous the violence may be. Encourage her to keep a diary of what’s happening to her if it is safe to do so. Help her think about steps she can take if her partner becomes abusive again. Make a list of people to call in an emergency. Suggest she hides a suitcase of clothing, money, Centrelink cards, bank books, birth certificates and school records for future emergencies. Acknowledge that she may be in the most danger while she’s trying to leave. 

Help her find a safe place – Help your friend contact the Domestic Violence Prevention Centre.  The staff can help her examine her options and assist her to find a safe place to go. 

If you see an assault in progress, take action – Call the police on triple zero (000).  Don’t assume that someone else has done so. If you are in your car honk your horn until a group gathers, he stops hitting her or the police come. These situations can be dangerous so whatever you do be sure to keep yourself safe. But do take action. At the very least, watch them. Being a witness in a way that lets him know that you see him may reduce his level of violence.