Australian not-for-profit organization Banksia Academy, has launched a “Workplace Hub” aimed at providing support to women and non-binary survivors of domestic and family violence (DFV) within the workplace.
The Hub offers a range of resources, including training, education, employment pathways, mentoring, and peer support, with the goal of helping survivors thrive at work and in life. The program recognizes that only a third of women disclose their experiences of DFV to their employers or HR departments.
In addition to support for survivors, Banksia Academy’s Workplace Hub also offers tailored training for organizations to better support employees dealing with DFV. The launch comes as statistics show the significant impact of DFV on employment, career progression, and workplace performance. Banksia Academy’s initiative aims to provide a vital lifeline for those affected by DFV and create more supportive workplaces. The Workplace Hub is available to businesses Australia-wide and the fees generated support the organization’s work in helping women survivors of DFV.
The impact of DFV lives long beyond the crisis phase and can negatively impact survivors emotional, psychological, and physical wellbeing, while also impacting career progression and opportunities, ability to concentrate at work, productivity levels, punctuality, and workplace relationships. If the appropriate workplace support and understanding is not available, these factors can have a domino effect, leaving women vulnerable to impacts on their employment, financial security and wellbeing.
Founded in 2022, Banksia Academy launched its virtual online platform providing training, education, employment pathways, and a program of wrap-around support for women survivors of domestic and family violence seeking to return to work.
Furthering the mission to support survivors to thrive again, Banksia Academy’s Workplace Hub has the unique capacity to support women anonymously to their employer, in circumstances where the research suggests that only a third of women are likely to disclose their experience of DFV to a manager or HR. The solution combines the benefits of peer-based support with tangible learning opportunities across both personal and professional development including:
Access to online courses from Banksia Academy’s global university partner, including its signature Working Wisdom program designed to support women specifically with the personal and professional development to thrive at work and in life as they heal and rebuild;
Fortnightly live virtual masterclass akin to ‘Meet the Expert’ webinars – to provide guidance and support from experts like family lawyers, financial planners and child behavior/parenting experts;
A national online mentoring program – matching survivors with a trauma-informed mentor to support with career progression goals and build networks;
Weekly facilitated virtual Coffee Club to connect, learn and share;
Weekly virtual guided meditation/wellbeing sessions – lunchtime spaces to center and re-group.
In addition to the virtual support available for survivors, the Workplace Hub also offers tailored training for organisations to better support women employees dealing with DFV, including workshops, consulting (Policy & Practice), group coaching, first responder and team leader training through its network of training experts.
Banksia Academy founder Melanie Greblo said, “62% of victim-survivors are employed and the meagre data available suggests that in any one Australian workplace, up to 20% of women employees have lived experience of DFV. The ongoing challenges women face both in leaving and in the re-building phase of DFV continually place women in positions of vulnerability. The need for ongoing support in the workplace is vital and it’s time for workplaces to be even more proactive in their response. The launch of Banksia Academy’s Workplace Hub helps women survivors thrive at work, supporting them to not only maintain their employment, but progress their career where it would otherwise risk being stalled or de-railed.”
Despite the best intentions of many workplaces, evidence and research suggests that women with lived experience of DFV are still not getting the tangible support they need in the workplace. The Workplace Hub offering provides a Community as a Service model to employers to better support their employees with lived experience, with outsized positive impact across gender equality, inclusion, and employee experience.
Greblo continues, “I created Banksia Academy because my own lived experience had disastrous impacts on my work and hence financial security. I knew that if this was a challenge for me, that other women who had less support than I did, must be drowning out there. And that’s exactly what the data tells us.”
Over 83% of victim-survivors reported that their job was impacted by their experience of DFV and for those impacted, 1 in 2 victim-survivors reported that DFV negatively impacted their career progression and opportunities 2 in 3 reported that DFV impacted their ability to concentrate at work
2 in 5 reported that DFV impacted their productivity
1 in 3 reported that DFV led them to socially withdraw from co-workers
1 in 3 reported that DFV negatively impacted their employment status
1 in 4 reported that DFV impacted their relationships at work
1 in 4 reported that DFV impacted their punctuality for work
1 in 4 reported that DFV “significantly” impacted their ability to undertake their job
Chris Regan, Board Member of Scriibed – Banksia Academy’s sister company providing direct employment opportunities for vulnerable women in the digital economy – said, “In my career in CPO roles, I have unfortunately witnessed the impact of domestic violence on employees. Women in particular are conditioned to put on a brave face in a work environment and are therefore unlikely to reach out for support. Access to the Workplace Hub will provide life changing support for employees living with domestic violence. The Hub offers access to confidential, specialist support for those that need it. I see it as a necessary extension of EAP services for progressive organisations who value their people, diversity, equity and inclusion. It just makes good business sense! The cost of replacing talent is far higher than investing in retaining them.”
Banksia Academy’s Workplace Hub is a paid program which is now available to businesses Australia-wide via www.banksiaacademy.org/workplace-hub. The money generated through the Hub’s fees goes straight back into the incredible work Banksia Academy does for women survivors of DFV. For every employee paid for by a workplace, three women in the community can access support for free to help them return to work.