The rights of domestic violence victim-survivors would be better protected under reforms to South Australia’s anti-discrimination laws to be introduced by the State Government this week.
Under the proposed changes to the legislation, the experience of domestic abuse would join sex, sexual orientation, gender, race, disability and age as an attribute protected from discrimination.
The move fulfills a Government election commitment that formed part of the “Women: Safety, Wellbeing, Equality” policy.
This Bill will prohibit discrimination on the basis that someone is, or has been, subject to domestic abuse and protect victim-survivors and their families in public life, including in employment, education or when trying to access services or accommodation.
New discriminatory behaviours that are set to be prohibited include criticising or otherwise treating an employee poorly because they took time off on domestic violence leave, and refusing to rent a property to someone because they are protected under an intervention order or have been residing in domestic violence crisis accommodation.
The ACT is the only other jurisdiction with similar legislation.
Attributable to Kyam Maher
People experiencing domestic or family violence need every support they can get, and establishing the experience of domestic abuse as a ground protected under our anti-discrimination laws is an important step forward to helping them break free from abusive relationships.
Under these reforms, victim-survivors of domestic violence could take action if they are discriminated against by employers, prospective landlords and others. The Commissioner for Equal Opportunity would have the power to investigate complaints of discrimination, and claims could be determined by the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal if not settled between the parties.
It’s a way of helping and supporting victim-survivors of domestic violence at a time when they need it the most.
Attributable to Katrine Hildyard
When women experience domestic violence, it is crucial that their connection to their workplace is secure and that they are enabled to access the support they need.
The Malinauskas Government is introducing legislation to ensure those who face discrimination for experiencing domestic violence can access support and an avenue for recourse through the Equal Opportunity Commission.
From Opposition, I introduced two bills to include the experience of domestic violence as a ground of discrimination in the Equal Opportunity Act (SA). I am so proud we now have the opportunity to progress this important legislation.
Governments should do everything they can to help prevent and end domestic violence and support and empower those who experience it. Through this legislation and a range of other measures, we are.