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Plea to grant victims leave

Date

Ewa Kretowicz

Workplace bullying.

Workplace bullying. Photo: Andrew Quilty

SEX Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick has urged the ACT government to introduce provisions for leave because of domestic violence in its next workplace agreement with public servants.

More then 1 million Australian workers are covered by industrial awards that provide leave for domestic violence.

The NSW government provides such leave and Ms Broderick said the ACT should follow suit.

But Greg Haustead, the acting director of public sector management in the Chief Minister and Cabinet Directorate, said ACT public servants could use personal leave and there was no need for another category of leave.

''People have all sorts of issues to deal with; domestic violence is serious but it's just one,'' Mr Haustead said. ''It's not something we are looking at immediately.''

The NSW, Queensland and Tasmanian public services grant ''special leave'' for victims to attend medical appointments and legal proceedings related to domestic violence.

Ms Broderick said 1.2 million women either were in a relationship characterised by violence or they had lived in one.

''One in three women will experience physical violence from the age of 15,'' Ms Broderick said.

She said industrial agreements that made specific provisions for leave because of domestic violence were necessary.

"It will lead to greater uniformity,'' she said. ''Where it's left to the discretion of the individual manager to approve access to personal leave, it depends on whether you've got a good manager.''

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