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Branch to offer extra family violence support for members requiring urgent legal assistance

Branch to offer extra family violence support for members requiring urgent legal assistance

ANMF (Vic Branch) has long advocated for improved entitlements and legislation for those experiencing family violence.

Over the past three years, a small but growing number of ANMF members have contacted us requesting assistance to make a flexible work arrangement because of family violence, and others have sought advice relating to accessing family violence leave. Currently, our legal partners, Gordon Legal, are assisting several members to work through legal issues associated with family violence.

Recognising this as a growing area of need, Branch Council has recently approved a family violence support package for members requiring urgent legal assistance with respect to family violence – eg: when obtaining an intervention order.

These support arrangements include advice and conduct of initial negotiations, and an appearance at court at the first hearing of an intervention order proceeding (called the ‘first mention’ hearing). If an intervention order proceeding required further appearances at court, beyond a first mention, then costs would be incurred and further funding support reviewed on a case-by-case basis, consistent with what currently occurs.

This new service for members is in addition to existing ANMF (Vic Branch) family violence provisions and resources, including the Safe Haven website, which we launched in 2022 to provide Victorian nurse, midwife and carer-specific information about support and legal services and family violence leave, as well as information to help colleagues and managers navigate how to provide appropriate support.

This website was a recommendation of the ‘You can’t swim if there is a weight dragging you down: report into family violence against Australian nurses, midwives and carers’. This was a joint ANMF (Vic Branch) and the University of Melbourne research project.

The website also provides information for nurses, midwives and carers concerned about their own behaviour. This is because the survey findings also showed that since the age of 16 years, 11.7% of men and 1.7% of women had behaved in a way that had made a partner or ex-partner feel afraid of them.

The Branch has also successfully strengthened family violence leave clauses (19 and 64) in the 2024 public sector nurses and midwives EBA, to specify that paid family violence leave will now attract penalties, rather than the base rate only. Ten paid family violence leave days will also be extended to casual employees and access to the 10 (casual) / 20 (permanent) days is from commencement of employment, rather than being accrued.