In The Canberra Times on the fourteenth of this month, the Executive Director of the Domestic Violence Crisis Service, Mirjana Wilson, referred to the surge in calls over the holiday period. She said it didn’t reflect that domestic situations were worsening, rather that there was an increase in victims willing to seek help.
“Awareness-raising is the devil and the angel at the same time,” she said.
“People have realised what they’re living with is domestic violence.”
There is no doubt there has been a rise in domestic violence reporting, and similarly there are those who believe the number of domestic violence incidents are increasing. Then there are those who, like Mirjana Wilson, believe awareness is creating an increase in reporting. Personally, I think that it is people speaking out more, and more likely to admit that domestic violence is occurring. Irrespective of your view, however, there is an increase in demand on resources as people realise how they are treated is not OK, that they deserve more, and help is available – if you ask for it.
Frontline services are already feeling the strain.
This awareness and reaching out is essential, and the more domestic violence is in our social radar, the more people will recognise the signs of abuse, and realise they too may have become enmeshed in the cycle of violence. This will similarly bring about a culture in Australia where reaching out for help is less intimidating. Media chatter is creating conversations in our communities and workplaces where those being abused will feel more comfortable revealing the situation they are in at home and asking for help.
Thankfully, there are an increasing number of workplaces implementing domestic violence policies because they see a need to lead the way, to change how we deal with the issue of domestic violence. As the current climate in the conversation continues, diversifies and grows, it will become the expected norm for workplaces to have these policies and training.
Why is it so essential for a workplace to include these policies and training? Because for those being abused, work is often the safest place. Their time is accounted for. This is a place where, if supported, they can disclose and make an exit plan without being queried as to whereabouts or actions.
Job security plays a huge role in the outcome for both adults being abused, and their children, and I am proud to play a part in these workplace solutions. Why? Because I can see the difference this new willingness, and most importantly actions, to clean up the black stain of domestic violence will make. Not only to those going through the cycle of violence, but to companies, communities, and Australia as a whole.
So help relieve the strain on the community resources, and be a corporate warrior. Lead the way – and start walking the awareness talk.
After all, actions speak louder than words.