This is an emergency.

You shouldn’t have to choose between your privacy and your safety. We’re about to force tens of thousands of people to do just that.

This is an emergency.

You shouldn’t have to choose between your privacy and your safety. We’re is about to force tens of thousands of people to do just that.

This is an emergency.

You shouldn’t have to choose between your privacy and your safety. And yet, unless we fix things, that’s the choice we’re about to force tens of thousands of people to make.


Tell your Senator: We need domestic violence leave. Don’t make us advertise it. Don’t make us explain it.


Labor wants ten days paid domestic and family violence leave for workers across the board. That’s what they’re calling it. Domestic violence leave.

To claim it, you’ll need to go to your boss and ask for it by name. To tell your boss you’re going through domestic violence.

Your boss can ask you for proof.

This is why people who need this leave won’t take it. Not everyone wants their boss knowing what they’re going through.

Sometimes, you don’t trust your boss to respect your privacy. Sometimes, your boss knows your abuser. Sometimes, your boss is your abuser.

You shouldn’t have to choose between getting paid and getting safe. You shouldn’t have to surrender your privacy to get to safety.

I am a highly trained professional. On two occasions ever I have taken a single day of domestic violence leave. These are the only two jobs I have ever had... where my contracts were not renewed. I would never recommend anyone take domestic violence leave.



We know that people who’ve already got access to paid domestic violence leave almost never take it.

180 in every 10,000 people will experience family and domestic violence in a given year1. But for those who’ve got access, as few as 22 will request it2.

People are opting to go without because they don’t want to go to their boss and ask for it.

You’re expected to go report to your boss that you need domestic violence leave. What happens if your abuser is your boss?
My abuser was my boss. He raped me. I am still struggling with openly acknowledging what happened.



So we need to fix it.

And we do that by changing the name. When you’re experiencing domestic violence and you’re trying to get help, you need it because it’s an emergency. Let’s call it one.

Renaming the entitlement ‘Emergency leave’ would mean you don’t have to go to your boss asking for ‘domestic and family violence leave’. You go asking for leave because you’re going through an emergency. It’s vague, and that’s the point. The vagueness protects your privacy.

I was in a probation period and experienced significant domestic violence... The organisation I worked for had just brought in domestic violence leave. I found the courage to speak with my CEO and explained my very delicate situation. I was told that it wouldn’t look good to the board if I wanted to access it. ‘Executives don’t bring their problems to work.



But if the only way you can access Emergency Leave is if you’re going through domestic violence, you’ll still be telling your boss what you’re experiencing.

So domestic violence leave should be combined with compassionate leave. Compassionate leave is available when someone experiences a family tragedy like a death.

By combining the two, a person claiming the entitlement would only need to say they have a family emergency that means they cannot attend work. If their boss requires proof, it would only need to be proof that there is a family emergency. Your employer would not know if there is a death or if you are experiencing violence. That’s how it should be.

This cannot be fixed if we don’t amend the legislation to fix it. And if we fail to, we will put in place an entitlement that doesn’t help people unless they’re prepared to sacrifice their privacy first. We can make this leave work for everyone, at every step of the way. We just need to fix it. And we don’t have much time.

Can you tell your Senator to fix this bill, and get this right?

I still wish I didn’t have to tell my manager and I still get feelings of shame when I think about it. Shame that this was happening to me, shame in the workplace, shame at home, shame in the community, shame as a new mother and mostly shame that people I didn’t want to knew my story.



Tell your MP — fix this bill. Give a good idea the justice it deserves. Make it work.


Is there anything else I can do to help get this over the line?

If you've got experience with domestic leave, and why it's so important for your privacy to be protected when you're claiming it, can you tell us about it?

Send an email to and tell us your story.

Isn’t it better to have this named domestic violence leave, to reduce the stigma?

Everybody wants to reduce the stigma attached to domestic violence. We want people to feel comfortable to claim it without fear or shame, because there’s nothing to be ashamed of.

But laws have to work with the world as it is. People experiencing domestic violence are going through enough. We don’t want to make it their jobs to also fight the stigma while they’re fighting for their lives.

Businesses will already have to offer protections for people’s privacy through HR.

Maybe — some. 88 per cent of Australian businesses employ fewer than 5 people. They aren’t big enough to have an HR department. And when you work in a small town, you know the people in HR. Maybe, so does your abuser.

Our proposed solution doesn’t stop anyone getting leave who’d get the leave without our solution. The only difference is it protects more people. It makes them safer, and it makes them more likely to claim leave. That is worth fighting for.

This is better than nothing, so let’s get it started and fix it later.

The impulse to lock in something good and fix it later is understandable. But we don’t have to delay the passage of this bill in order to fix the bill. The bill will come into effect on the same day, with or without our changes. The only difference is how effective it is. That’s a big deal.

An initiative of the Jacqui Lambie Network.