Earlier this year, St Vincent’s Health Australia (SVHA) joined the growing number of organisations from corporate, non-profit and Government who have started their journey towards accreditation as White Ribbon Workplaces.

In working towards accreditation, we have acknowledged that violence against women is a workplace issue and are leading by example to prevent and respond to this issue.

Some of the many benefits we hope for include:

  • improved workplace safety and morale
  • educating staff in effectively recognising and responding to violence and inappropriate behaviour
  • risk mitigation, and
  • increased employee and community confidence in the organisation.

One of our key initiatives is a new group wide Family and Domestic Violence Workforce Support Policy that includes 10 days additional leave for any of our staff experiencing domestic violence. I have also nominated to become a White Ribbon ambassador along with some of my colleagues across SVHA and together will play a leadership role in preventing men’s violence against women.

Today is a great day to stand up, speak out and act. In Australia, all women should live in safety, free from all forms of men’s violence. Sadly, this is not the case. On average, more than one woman per week is killed by a current or former partner.

As we live and reflect on our values of compassion and justice in our work at St Vincent’s Private Hospital Melbourne, I would like to ask staff to please consider supporting a White Ribbon Day event or taking the White Ribbon oath. Our commitment to protecting and empowering our staff reflects our strategic vision of ‘serving, seeing and striving’ for something greater. I look forward to working together to make St Vincent’s a safer, healthier and more productive workplace.

The new Family and Domestic Violence Workforce Support Policy can be accessed via the SVHA intranet under ‘All SVHA Staff Policies’ or via the following link below: https://intranet.svha.org.au/display/SVHA/SVHA+Policies+and+Plans

If you would like to take the White Ribbon oath on line, go to: http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/standup


  • One in three women experience physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them.[1]
  • One in five women experience harassment within the workplace.[2]
  • 94% of employees agree employers should take a leadership role in educating their workplace about respectful relationships between men and women.[3]
  • In a recent survey, 48% of respondents who had experienced domestic violence disclosed it to a manager or supervisor, and only 10% found their response helpful.[4]
  • Disclosure is often a traumatic experience for victims of violence, but it can also be a stressful time for supervisors receiving the disclosure. Training and support is critical.
  • Most workplaces will employ current, former or potential perpetrators and victims of domestic violence at one time or another.

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2013). Personal Safety, Australia, 2012

[2] Australian Human Rights Commission (2008). Sexual Harassment Guide.

[3] Pennay, D & Powell, A. (2012).  The role of bystander knowledge, attitudes and behaviours in preventing violence against women: A full technical report.  The Social Research Centre. Melbourne.

[4] VicHealth, 2009, National Survey on Community Attitudes to Violence Against Women. Victorian Health Promotion Foundation.

For more information on White Ribbon Workplace go to: http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/workplaces