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Financial cost of domestic violence could exceed $15b

Business

Domestic violence has far-reaching social costs but it also has a huge economic price which could exceed $15 billion annually within six years, a new report reveals.

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Research by Deloitte Access Economics, launched on White Ribbon Day on Wednesday, stated by 2021-22 domestic abuse will cost the Australian economy $15.6 billion each year, up $3 billion from the last figures released in 2008-09.

Nationally about 800,000 working women are domestic violence victims.

The cost to businesses includes absenteeism as well as workers being less productive due to stress and anxiety which can also impact co-workers.

Report author Natasha Doherty says it’s vital business leaders look at what they can do to help employees who are being abused at home.

“Business organisations can help enormously by working to create environments where those needing support feel safe,” she said.

“In fact for many the workplace may be their only safe haven during the day.”

The report suggests businesses develop a plan to address the issue including making it clear that domestic violence is a workplace issue and that economic factors influence women’s choices.

Support should also be offered to those who speak out and businesses should have the option of flexible work hours by allowing leave for victims.

* National domestic violence helpline: 1800 737 732 or 1800 RESPECT. In an emergency call triple-zero.

AAP

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