Family violence awareness champion Rosie Batty encouraged local businesses to be aware of the prevalence of family violence in their community.
Speaking to business-people at a Shepparton Chamber of Commerce event later this month, Ms Batty will discuss why it is relevant for them to be aware that family violence can happen anywhere.
‘‘A lot of communities don’t really think that it happens to people they know,’’ she said.
‘‘But it affects all areas of the world and all areas of Australia; it doesn’t just happen in low socio-economic communities or Aboriginal communities — it happens all over.’’
Ms Batty said the first step businesses could take to advocate against family violence was understanding just how prevalent it was as a social issue.
‘‘Shepparton is just like every other area and it will have its own problems,’’ she said.
She said it could often be difficult for people in regional areas, like Shepparton, to reach out for help.
‘‘In the past people have not felt comfortable talking about (family violence),’’ Ms Batty said.
‘‘Particularly in regional communities where everyone knows everyone ... it’s not always easy.’’
Ms Batty explained how family violence issues could affect workplaces.
‘‘It certainly can have an impact on productivity,’’ she said.
‘‘People who may have injury or are struggling at home could be more inclined to have absenteeism; someone experiencing violence can have mental health issues like depression and anxiety, which means they’ll struggle to be as productive.’’
She said many organisations had taken up paid entitlement leave for family violence matters.
‘‘So the employee can attend court dates or police interviews,’’ she said.
‘‘The important thing is continuation of employment and that the person feels comfortable they’re not at risk of falling into financial hardship.
‘‘Work plays an important part in self-worth; it takes you away from the home situation and gives you that sense of purpose.’’
Ms Batty said she looked forward to speaking in Shepparton where she knew she would be most welcomed.
Ms Batty has been an inspirational speaker on family violence matters, suffering from her own experience in 2014 when her 11-year-old son Luke Batty was murdered by his own father at cricket practice.
She has since founded the Luke Batty Foundation in his honour with the tragedy helping Ms Batty to find her voice. She was awarded Australian of the Year the following year in 2015.
If you have experienced violence you can get assistance by calling 1800RESPECT. If this article has triggered anything for you phone Lifeline on 131114.
Lunch with Rosie Batty will be held at Cellar 47, 170 High St, Shepparton, on Thursday, June 21, from noon to 2pm. Tickets cost $41 and can be purchased at Eventbrite.com