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Archdiocese of Brisbane introduces paid leave to support victims of domestic and family violence

The Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane will introduce paid leave for domestic and family violence victims as part of a concerted community push to eradicate the scourge.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge said special leave would be offered to the Archdiocese’s thousands of employees across its parishes and agencies including Centacare. Another agency, Brisbane Catholic Education, was among the first organisations to offer leave for domestic and family violence .

The Archdiocese this week launched Rewrite the Story: Let’s End Domestic and Family Violence – an educational campaign that joins a wider community and political stance.

A new website – www.rewritethestory.net.au – outlines the Archdiocese’s efforts, which follow on from a State Government taskforce that delivered the Not Now, Not Ever report that underlined the impact of domestic and family violence throughout the state.

“For a long time domestic violence has been hidden. It happens behind closed doors,” Archbishop Coleridge said. “Now that we’re seeing it as it really is we realise the scale of the problem we have in society. We decided we had to do whatever it takes – as a Church with all of our resources and energies – to do something about a real social malaise.

“The commitment is reflected in our offering of special leave for domestic and family violence victims. It’s a decision to give time to people who are suffering from domestic violence. It’s a way of us saying we understand and we want to help.”

The Archdiocese joins the likes of the State Government and firms such as Telstra in providing paid leave for domestic and family violence matters. Brisbane Catholic Education has already introduced paid leave for its staff.

The Archdiocese brings a unique insight to the problem because of the ongoing work of Centacare on the frontline of domestic and family violence. Centacare works on a daily basis with victims throughout the Archdiocese, helping them through their harrowing journey including assistance in courtrooms.

“Our Centacare is a unique agency in its size and its range of services. There is nothing quite like it around the nation,” Archbishop Coleridge said. “Centacare has been right at the centre of raising the awareness of domestic violence and working against it.

“They are a remarkable agency which renders a great service, particularly in this area.”

Archbishop Coleridge will write to political and community leaders to formally offer the Church’s assistance to eradicate domestic and family violence.

“The important thing is that the Church do something but not do something on our own. We don’t inhabit a vacuum,” Archbishop Coleridge said.

“The Catholic way has always been to take our place in society as a whole. I’m very keen to work with anyone who wants to do something about domestic and family violence.

“I know that our political and community leaders share that commitment so I’m more than happy to work with them and anyone who wants to put their shoulder to the wheel and help with domestic violence.”

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