PLANS to grant family violence leave to those working in the Victorian public sector were announced last week, and LGBTI people in abusive relationships will be included as part of the scheme.

The clause for family violence leave will be developed by the Victorian Government and will ensure that nurses, teachers, and other public sector employees are entitled to paid time off work while they seek support.

[showads ad=MREC]State family violence prevention minister Fiona Richardson believes the changes will also give much-needed support to same-sex couples.

“While same-sex relationship violence is both under-researched and underreported it is estimated that same-sex couples experience similar rates of family violence as heterosexual couples,” she told the Star Observer.

“Family violence leave will give victims, including those in same-sex relationships, the support, financial independence and well-being that they need during what are extremely difficult and stressful times.”

A recent report detailed a Victorian study where one third of LGBTI respondents had been in an abusive relationship.

Of these respondents, 78 per cent revealed that the abuse had been psychological while 58 per cent revealed they had been physically abused or hit.

The state government’s proposed clause will allow those experiencing family violence to have financial independence in order to make it easier for victims and survivors to leave violent relationships.

Industrial relations minister Natalie Hutchins said the planned changes would benefit employers and staff alike.

“As well as supporting victims, family violence leave provisions also help employers in retaining qualified and valuable staff through difficult circumstances,” she said.

The first negotiations for the clause will take place in September with the Victorian Public Service, followed by the rolling out of a family violence provision for all public sector workers.

Richardson believes the changes will help to put the minds of those experiencing family violence at ease.

“This leave sends a clear message to all victims that they’re supported in their workplace and do not need to fear losing their job whilst suffering from the terrible effects of family violence,” she said.

The Royal Commission into Family Violence recently concluded its hearings by groups working in the sector, including submissions by the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby and Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria.

RELATED: Hidden Wounds – an in-depth feature on domestic violence in LGBTI relationships

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