Friday, 25 May 2018

Corporate Australia - Let's Talk Domestic Violence

My challenge to Corporate Australia is to start a conversation about Domestic Violence.

One of the societal evolutions over the last decade has been the progress towards normalisation of mental disease.

Once considered an embarrassment or a weakness, mental illness is increasingly being accepted as an illness just as any other disease.

To be absent from work with a coronary issue was ok but it was not ok to be absent for 6 weeks with mental illness.

Although there is more progress to be made, we have moved a long way and increasingly, talking matters of mental health is conducted openly and without embarrassment.

Corporate Australia participate in events raising awareness, educating and raising research funds for matters of the brain.

It appears to me that Corporate Australia is not doing the same when it comes to Domestic Violence.

I attended the annual Darkness to Daylight Challenge in Brisbane, Australia this week.

The challenge was for teams of runners and walkers to complete a distance of 110 kilometres between sundown on 23 May and sunup on 24 May. Each of the 110 kilometres represents the death of a person as a result of a domestic violence event each year.

Each participating team has a tent like shelter area where they store bags, water, food and also sleep in between running stints.

At the front of each tent is a sign indicating the name of their employer.

There was hardly a Corporate to be seen.

There were a number of Government departments, a University or two and a Union. There was a large Army contingent as well as Fire Services. There was also a mid-tier law firm.

Where were the Banks, the large Law and Accounting firms and the investment houses?

Where were the Engineers and the Construction firms?
Where were the Real Estate Firms, Property Developers, Automotive Groups and Recruitment Firms?

There was one Superannuation Fund who have also made a long term commitment to DV Connect however, where were the other funds?

I have attended many fund raising events over many years. Some events are for Cancer causes while others have been for Coronary disease, diabetes and more recently mental health.

All are supported by our major corporate entities and all have a loud and obvious presence.

Corporate support for these events leads to conversations taking place within the organisation and the internal promotion about the issue at hand. Such activities raise awareness and bring issues in to the consciousness of a large number of employees.

There is a conversation.

It is time for our banks, insurance companies, engineering and construction sectors and our accountants and lawyers to start a conversation about Domestic Violence and in doing so, ensure their culture is one of support for victims, many of which will be employees and clients. Sadly.

My challenge to Corporate Australia is to start a conversation about Domestic Violence.

Or, are they embarrassed and if so, why?

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