Hospital Showcases Engage to Change

Engage to Change, our ground-breaking social enterprise to educate employers and staff about family violence, will be showcased to nurses and midwives from across Australia at the Australian Nurses and Midwives Conference in Melbourne on 11th September.

The program, which explores what can be done to support women in the workplace who are experiencing violence, will be presented at the conference by St Vincent’s Private Hospital staff.

The training program, which is currently funded solely through philanthropy, offers employers and their employees practical assistance on how to recognise and respond to family violence issues in the workplace, and where to refer both inside and outside the business.

McAuley Community Services for Women ran the Engage to Change face-to-face facilitated workshops for managers at St Vincent’s Private and the hospital has installed purpose built e-learning module to train their employees about family violence and how to recognise and respond appropriately in the workplace.

Recognising the value of this work, the hospital is keen to spread the word to show what support is available to nursing staff and how easily it can be implemented Australia wide.

“The program has enabled managers to feel more comfortable about broaching the subject with their staff and to recognise some of the key warning signs,” said Darren Mannix, Manager Human Resources at St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne.

“In addition, St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne has introduced a policy detailing special leave provisions and support for employees experiencing domestic violence,” Mr Mannix said.

Karen Dynon, Business Development at McAuley Community Services for Women, said St Vincent’s Private Hospital management was on the front foot in terms of supporting staff experiencing family violence.

“We would like other major health services to provide the face-to-face training, particularly as 80% of their staff are female. The training means that managers are better equipped to recognise when a staff member is experiencing family violence and they know where to refer them for more intensive and appropriate help,” Karen said.

The Engage to Change Program also looks at the cost to business of family violence.

Family violence puts all workers at risk and can lead to stress related illness and physical injuries in the workplace. Recent surveys in Australia and overseas have estimated between 10–30% of employees may be affected by family violence in any 12 month period.

Family violence costs Australian business around $13.6 billion each year, due to lost productivity, increased use of sick leave, poor performance, absenteeism and recruitment costs. By 2021 this figure is expected to rise to $20 billion (according to The Cost of Violence Against Women and their Children, KPMG 2009).

September 2015