Employers can Recognise, Respond, Refer to stop DV

MAKE domestic violence your business to help save lives.

CEOs, managers and business owners across regional Queensland and NSW can challenge themselves with a ground-breaking training program that could save their employees' lives.

Charity organisation Australia's CEO Challenge hopes its Recognise, Respond, Refer e-learning package will show business leaders how to help their staff and colleagues who may be victims of family violence.

Australian Regional Media, publisher of this and 11 other daily newspapers, will offer the course to its employees as will the Queensland Public Service.

Advocates and frontline workers believe 39 women have died at the hands of family members or partners this year.

About 74 domestic assaults are reported to NSW police daily and Queensland officers respond to about 180 cases every day.

Access Economics researchers found domestic violence workplace absenteeism costs the national economy about $14.2 million each year and the cost of replacing staff was $36.6 million a year.

CEO Challenge's training program has the backing of Queensland's Communities, Disability Services and Child Safety Department and the Minister for Women, Shannon Fentiman.

CEO Challenge's Amanda Sams said money raised from the online course would go to domestic violence prevention and support services

"This online learning program provides the educational tools for every Queenslander in the fight to eradicate the silent epidemic that is domestic violence," Ms Sams said.

"The online platform breaks down the geographical barriers that we face in reaching rural and remote workers and their families, allowing Australia's CEO Challenge to further engage and educate the community on how to recognise, respond and refer to victims of domestic violence."

Ms Fentiman urged workplaces to join the challenge.

"Given how much time we spend at work, it makes sense to ensure that people are trained to notice if colleagues might be experiencing violence at home," Ms Fentiman said.

"There are 181 reports of domestic and family violence incidents made to Queensland police every day and many more go unreported.

"And still one in three women will experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

"I am calling on businesses - big or small - to work with us to take up the challenge of eliminating domestic and family violence."

To take on the challenge visit http://www.ceochallengeaustralia.org. - APN NEWSDESK

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