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Additional support to help tackle family violence

Our new customer family violence guidelines aim to support and protect people experiencing family violence

31 March 2017

Yarra Valley Water has strengthened support available to customers and staff experiencing family violence. A year after the release of the Victorian Government’s Royal Commission into Family Violence. Family violence campaigner Phil Cleary whose sister died at the hands of her former partner in 1987, shared his story with staff about the real life impact family violence can have.

Pat McCafferty, Managing Director said that Phil’s personal story gives a confronting, raw and tragic account of family violence, and is a very real example of why providing community and staff support is so important.

“Phil’s story leaves you knowing and feeling that whatever we can do, however we can contribute to supporting people experiencing family violence, we must do it. This is about us playing our part in tackling the issue. Our new customer family violence guidelines aim to support and protect people experiencing family violence, both inside and outside our organisation” said Mr McCafferty.

  • We service a population of nearly 2 Million Melburnians, and take around 2,500 calls a day.
  • 1 in 4 Australian women have experienced sexual or physical violence.
  • Every week a woman dies as a result of domestic violence.

“When you look at the stats, it goes without saying that some of those calls will be from victims or perpetrators. The closer you are to customers, the earlier you can provide support. The Royal Commission found that providers of essential services have an important role to play as often perpetrators will leverage the account relationship to dominate their victim (such as withholding payments etc.). So, there are many reasons why a water utility providing an essential service would take action, and listening to Phil speak it’s also pretty clear that it boils down to just doing the right thing.

“We want our customers to know that their privacy is protected, and that they will be listened to so that they do not have to repeat their story each time they call. This is a widespread community issue, and we know that we also need to support our own people which is why extensive training is being provided, along with leave if needed. We will continue to work closely with our community agencies and financial counselling partners to develop appropriate support for customers and staff members experiencing family violence” added Mr McCafferty.

Support available

  • All Customer Contact Centre staff are trained in domestic violence awareness.
  • A specially trained Customer Support team to manage customers at risk due to family violence.
  • All employees will undergo training on recognising the signs of family violence and how to respond and support customers appropriately.
  • All managers are provided with training on recognising the signs of family violence and responding appropriately.
  • All employees have access to paid family violence leave, in line with the Victorian public sector.