8 minute read

Action on domestic violence must come from the top

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AGL Energy
05 May 2016

Yesterday, AGL CEO Andy Vesey stood alongside Dame Quentin Bryce and TransGrid CEO Paul Italiano at a White Ribbon event in Sydney, highlighting the important role that organisations from all sectors have to work together to strengthen support networks for people impacted by domestic violence. Importantly, Andy also outlined his personal commitment to driving improvements, saying that change must come from the top.

This comes off the back of AGL's recent support and involvement in the Queensland Government Not Now, Not Ever campaign for Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month. The campaign features AGL's recent workplace and customer initiatives alongside actions being taken by schools, sports clubs, neighbourhoods and community support services. Addressing domestic violence and strengthening support networks truly is a collective effort and all sectors can certainly learn from the experiences and success of each other.

For Australia to turn the tide of domestic and family violence statistics, AGL recognises that culture change in our workplaces has to be part of the equation. That's about gender diversity more broadly, addressing unconscious bias and it's about the influences workplaces can have on both perpetrators and providing support to those directly impacted by abuse.

Governments around Australia are also supported this call to action, releasing a powerful a new Stop It At The Start primary prevention campaign, targeting and challenging behaviours. You can watch the hard-hitting video below:

AGL has taken an integrated approach to addressing domestic violence, both through employee support which includes access to 10 days domestic violence leave, referral to counselling through the employee assistance program and flexible work arrangements - and customer support, with calls being transferred to hardship specialists, additional steps taken to protect account privacy such as adding passwords, along with flexible payment arrangements and debt relief.

Our people strongly support AGL's actions to date with White Ribbon recently being brought on as an Employee Giving partner, where AGL employees can donate part of their pay with every dollar raised being matched dollar-for-dollar by AGL.

The next steps will be focused on engagement with perpetrators and community outreach and energy support information sessions with community workers.

As an ASX-listed company, AGL believes it has an important role to play - an employer of over 3,200 people and a service provider of close to 3 million customers - we've been a part Australian community for over 177 years, now what's important to us is that we work together with all sectors to strive for an Australian future free of violence against women.