Today is the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
The day was established to draw attention to one of the world’s most widespread human rights violations: the UN estimates that one in three females will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently inflicted by an intimate partner.
As a company with 3.7 million customers and 3,700 employees, we have the power to make a real impact towards achieving respect and equality for all – which is why we must speak up to stamp out Family and Domestic Violence (FDV) in Australia.
We are taking action
In 2015, AGL introduced its Family and Domestic Violence Support Policy – which includes special leave and flexible work arrangements to support employees experiencing domestic violence. A support helpline, information on the employee intranet, family and domestic violence training, and a partnership with Gippsland Women’s Health are some of the initiatives now in place.
We’ve also rolled out measures to assist affected customers. Statistics show that one in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by someone known to them, while on average, one woman is murdered by a current or former partner every week.
- Our Vulnerable Customer Policy recognises that as an essential services provider, we have a role to play in protecting our customers who experience family violence. As well as safety concerns, this often creates affordability issues for victims. Our policy outlines strategies for our Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) to take in situations where family violence is known or suspected, such as increased security provisions and an established emergency procedure when immediate risk is suspected.
- We have partnerships in the community sector, as well as solutions such as debt waivers for customers who have been victims of economic abuse.
- We actively supported the Energy Services Commission (ESC) to develop its regulations for retailers supporting families experiencing FDV.
- AGL Loy Yang has also established a network to advocate and respond to this issue within the Gippsland region, with police statistics showing the Latrobe Valley has the highest rates of FDV incidents of any region in Victoria.
Speaking on End Violence Day last year, our CEO Brett Redman said family and domestic violence was one of the biggest issues facing Australia.
‘The statistics are staggering,’ he said.
‘We all have a role to play in fostering a safe environment and supporting our customers and people who are directly impacted.
‘We’ve introduced extra security measures to help protect our customers’ privacy in this situation and more than 1,500 of our people have also been through our Safe Space – Family and Domestic Violence training.’
As a large ASX-listed employer and an essential service provider, we acknowledge our responsibility to lead by example, that’s why:
- All contact centre employees receive specialised training on how to assist customers experiencing family violence, both in terms of account security and referral to external assistance services.
- AGL employees are offered access to the Family and Domestic Violence Training program. Training is offered as separate leader and employee workshops with an aim to build awareness about the impact of family and domestic violence, know how to recognise the signs of someone who may need support, and how to confidently respond in a caring and inclusive way.