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Lawyer calls to broaden DV leave

Lawyer calls to broaden DV leave

Cassandra Pullos

A Gold Coast lawyer has urged for the legal profession to take a stronger stance on the broadening of domestic violence leave policies, saying more can be done to help those in need.

Pullos Lawyers family law specialist Cassandra Pullos said moves to broaden the provision of domestic violence leave in Queensland for public sector workers are welcome, but “do not go far enough”.

“Domestic violence is a growing national crisis and paid leave for those affected by it should be seen as necessary and not confined to just public sector employees,” Ms Pullos said.

Ms Pullos' comments come after a move made recently by Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, which called for paid domestic violence leave to become a national employment standard.

Ms Pullos said the move was applauded but “we could do a lot more”. She noted several Australian law firms are now offering domestic violence leave to staff but it was on an “ad hoc basis with no formal, profession-wide policy”.

“We support this call for domestic violence leave to be available across the board to everyone affected by it as one of the ways in which the business community can recognise the toll domestic and family violence can take on employees,” Ms Pullos said.

Ms Pullos said the legal profession should take a prominent role in advocating change to protect DV victims and advocate tougher penalties for those who commit domestic violence.

“One of the key messages we need to convey in 2017 is to push for change on the understanding that domestic violence leave is not, and should not be, just seen as a holiday,” she said.

“Domestic violence is so widespread and ingrained, it needs a whole of government and community approach to eradicate it. Up until now, various groups and agencies have been working almost independently and in isolation on DV solutions.

“The current splintered approach needs to refocus around a robust policy to protect and help victims, and deter and appropriately punish domestic violence offenders.”

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