6 minute read

Why we can't be bystanders

Making a commitment to 'call it out' and not be a bystander fosters safe spaces for our people, in the workplace and at home.

Sophie Halse
Sophie Halse
06 July 2018

This year AGL introduced its family and domestic violence training called ‘Safe Space’, available to all our people in all locations. More than 1,500 of our leaders and team members across all professions and major locations have attended.

The training helps us recognise the signs of family and domestic violence and gives us a greater understanding of the best ways to support our colleagues who may be victims of violence and abuse. It also equips us to recognise unhealthy behaviours in ourselves or in others, providing the tools to seek help and break the cycle of violence.

In 2015 our family and domestic violence support policy helped us develop special support for customers experiencing violence at home, including measures to help them maintain their privacy.

So why is AGL focused on this?

It’s horrifying but true to say that in Australia one woman every week is murdered by a current or former partner.

International evidence shows that some of the main drivers of violence against women include disrespect, lack of support for gender equality and rigid or stereotypical gender roles1.

It’s why initiatives such as the Victorian State Government’s Respect Women: Call It Out ad campaign from earlier this year are so important in encouraging men to intervene and call out sexism and gender inequality in those familiar social settings - at the pub, at a casual BBQ or in the workplace.

Fostering a culture of Inclusive of all – another core AGL value – sets a tone of respect and trust by holding us and our behaviours to account, and by helping to reinforce daily practices that promote inclusion and gender equality. It’s a contributing factor to AGL exceeding our 40% target for women in the senior leadership pipeline. We know however, there’s still more we can do and learn.

As a leader in a company with 3.6 million customers and 3,600 employees, it’s important that my behaviour and daily practice, and yours too - supports a shared goal of respect and equality for every Australian. Making a commitment to call it out, to not be a bystander and to eliminate gender bias and discrimination, fosters safe spaces for people in the workplace and at home. It starts with me, it starts with all of us.

Our Watch, Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety and VicHealth (2015) Change the story: A shared framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia, Our Watch, Melbourne, Australia