Foreign Minister's challenge to APS: act on domestic violence
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Foreign Minister's challenge to APS: act on domestic violence

All public service departments should develop policies to support staff experiencing domestic violence, Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne has said.

"I'm throwing out a challenge," the minister said on Tuesday morning, calling for all federal departments to implement a strategy similar to that already in place in the Department of Human Services.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said public service departments need to act on domestic violence.

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said public service departments need to act on domestic violence.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

"Family and domestic violence occurs everywhere, everywhere," she said.

"It occurs in every department in the Commonwealth, in every state department in Australia, it occurs in our posts and missions overseas, it occurs in the ADF, it appears in every cohort."

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When Ms Payne was responsible for Human Services, a family and domestic violence strategy called Enough was developed and introduced, with measures to support both staff and clients of the department experiencing domestic violence.

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Acknowledging there were many departmental secretaries present at the Institute of Public Administration Australia's annual International Womens Day breakfast, Ms Payne said the Enough program should be used as a template for other departments.

"The Enough program is about supporting staff who are experiencing family and violence, and frankly including as perpetrators, and also supporting clients of the Department of Human Services who might come to us in times of extraordinary difficulty in their life and not have anywhere else to go."

"There are really simple things that the public sector can do to change the way you support your staff."

Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Frances Adamson responded to the minister's call, saying her department was already in the process of developing something similar, but would look at the Human Services model as part of that.

The challenge was made on the same day Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced $328 million would be spent on domestic violence programs across the country, including a focus on prevention.

Sally Whyte is a reporter for The Canberra Times covering the public service.

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