18.129 In Family Violence—A National Legal Response, the ALRC and the New South Wales Law Reform Commission (the Commissions) recommended that the Australian, state and territory governments, and educational, professional and service delivery bodies should ensure regular and consistent education and training for participants in the family law, family violence, and child protection systems, in relation to the nature and dynamics of family violence, including its impact on victims, in particular those from high risk or vulnerable groups.
18.130 In Chapter 14 of this Discussion Paper the ALRC proposes that the Australian Government should initiate a national education and awareness campaign around family violence as a work issue. The ALRC indicates that one component of the national campaign should focus on family violence as an OHS issue.
Submissions and consultations
18.131 As outlined above, in the Employment Law Issues Paper the ALRC asked what requirements, suggestions or information should be included in regulations, Codes of Practice or guidance material addressing family violence as an OHS risk. This question, as well as a more general question about any other ways OHS law could be improved to protect the safety of those experiencing family violence, elicited a range of responses from stakeholders related to education, training and measures aimed at raising awareness.
18.132 Stakeholders supported a national approach to this issue (in line with proposals made in Chapter 14) as well as recognising the particular role to be played by bodies such as SWA, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) and state and territory OHS regulatory bodies as well as employer organisations.
18.133 The ADFVC recommended that work safety agencies and employer organisations should provide duty holders and members with educational resources and other guidance material. The ADFVC recognised ‘the important role that employer organisations play in educating members on OHS issues in some industry sectors’, and considered that ‘ideally, any education initiatives should also be driven by the private sector’.
18.134 The ADFVC emphasised that education and training ‘will equip duty holders with the tools they need to identify potential risks and respond appropriately by developing measures to eliminate risk’. The ADFVC also emphasised the need for the development of resources for employees experiencing family violence, and co-workers of those experiencing family violence, citing an example developed by the Occupational Health & Safety Council of Ontario.
18.135 The ASU suggested that
the relevant health and safety regulator in each jurisdiction [should] conduct an education campaign, so that employers have no doubt that if an incident connected to domestic violence was to occur on the worksite, the employer is still responsible for providing a safe workplace.
18.136 ACCI submitted that ‘any educative materials should be provided by the OHS regulator(s) at first instance’,
but could also be provided by the FWO in their educative material (including Best Practice Guides) on reasonable precautions or protocols that workplaces could implement where there is a possibility that an employee or co-worker may be harmed by a spouse at a workplace.
18.137 The Queensland Law Society indicated it favours the introduction of education campaigns over statutory guidelines in order to address family violence as an OHS issue.
18.138 The ACTU supported a multifaceted approach, including:
Publication of material issued jointly by health and safety regulatory agencies with police and/or domestic violence agencies, union and employer associations; and
Training of advisory and inspectorate branches of regulators in identifying and addressing the issue.
18.139 With respect to training, the Australian Association of Social Workers (Qld) emphasised that ‘[a]ppropriate training in relation to domestic and family violence and specific information on how to support victims within the context of the work environment’, must go ‘hand in hand’ with any changes to regulations, codes of practice or guidance material.
18.140 The NNWWC suggested the inclusion of modules on family violence in OHS qualifications and Health and Safety Representative training as well as training for OHS inspectors ‘on family violence and its potential risk to workplaces’ and ‘training on positive ways to address and prevent the impact of family violence on workplaces’.
18.141 One of the objects of the Model Bill involves the promotion of the provision of advice, information, education and training in relation to OHS. In light of the ALRC’s proposals, and in line with this object, the ALRC considers there is a specific need for education, training and increased awareness about family violence as an OHS issue which builds on the obligations contained in OHS legislation and regulations, and guidance provided in Codes of Practice and other guidance material.
18.142 In light of concerns expressed throughout this Inquiry, particularly by employer organisations, any such education and training must be provided in a range of forums, and should be targeted to meet the needs of particular business and workplace types and sizes. The ALRC reinforces the views expressed by the Commissions in Family Violence—A National Legal Response, that education and training on the nature and dynamics of family violence—in this case for employers, employees and related organisations—will assist in protecting the safety of victims of family violence. The ALRC considers that if a definition of family violence is included in Codes of Practice and other SWA material, which is consistent across legal frameworks, this will provide for a common understanding of family violence on which education, training and information dissemination can be based.
18.143 The ALRC also considers that the national education campaign proposed in Chapter 14 will provide an important basis for education, training and awareness raising in relation to family violence as an OHS issue. The ALRC proposes that SWA should develop and provide education and training in relation to family violence as an OHS issue, in consultation with unions, employer organisations, state and territory OHS regulators and other relevant bodies. The ALRC considers that such information should be provided through a range of mediums, and be tailored to suit specific industries or workplaces and provided in a culturally appropriate manner.
18.144 The ALRC also considers that provision of education should be complemented by appropriate training of employees, employers, Health and Safety Representatives and committees as well as OHS regulators. The ALRC is interested in stakeholder views about the most appropriate mechanism through which such training could be provided.
Proposal 18–3 Safe Work Australia should develop and provide education and training in relation to family violence as a work health and safety issue in consultation with unions, employer organisations and state and territory OHS regulators.
 Australian Law Reform Commission and New South Wales Law Reform Commission, Family Violence: A National Legal Response, ALRC Report 114; NSWLRC Report 128 (2010), Rec 31–1.
 Australian Law Reform Commission, Family Violence and Commonwealth Laws—Employment and Superannuation Law, ALRC Issues Paper 36 (2011), Question 25.
 Ibid, Question 32.
 Australian Council of Trade Unions, Submission CFV 39, 13 April 2011; ADFVC, Submission CFV 26, 11 April 2011; Queensland Law Society, Submission CFV 21, 6 April 2011; National Network of Working Women’s Centres, Submission CFV 20, 6 April 2011; ACCI, Submission CFV 19, 8 April 2011; Australian Association of Social Workers (Qld), Submission CFV 17, 5 April 2011; Women’s Health Victoria, Submission CFV 11, 5 April 2011; Australian Services Union Victorian Authorities and Service Branch, Submission CFV 10, 4 April 2011.
 ADFVC, Submission CFV 26, 11 April 2011
 Australian Services Union Victorian Authorities and Service Branch, Submission CFV 10, 4 April 2011.
 ACCI, Submission CFV 19, 8 April 2011.
 Queensland Law Society, Submission CFV 21, 6 April 2011.
 Australian Council of Trade Unions, Submission CFV 39, 13 April 2011.
 Australian Association of Social Workers (Qld), Submission CFV 17, 5 April 2011.
 National Network of Working Women’s Centres, Submission CFV 20, 6 April 2011.