The Agency introduces a new domestic violence support program

The Agency has announced a new family and domestic violence policy that will include a one-off emergency payment of up to $5000 to help support victims.

The payment, available to The Agency Group staff across the country, matches the contribution through the Federal Government’s newly introduced Leaving Violence Program as part of the 2024-2025 Federal Budget.

In addition, the group is creating a national working party consisting of both members of staff and senior management to consider further policies, programs and actions to support staff affected by domestic violence.

The Agency Group Founder and Executive Director Paul Niardone said the group was not the first organisation to introduce corporate support for victims of domestic violence, but that the increasing tide of unacceptable violence demanded greater action.

“We’ve all probably known a person who has experienced some form of domestic violence,” Mr Niardone said.

“Since we’ve put out the new policy we’ve already had agents come out and tell us what a fantastic policy it is, with some even suggesting this was something that they could have really used in a previous relationship.”

Mr Niardone said they wanted to create a support program that was suited to the unique requirements of the real estate industry, which is why they settled on making a cash payment that was easily available to those who needed it.

“We looked at a lot of the big players out there like BHP and Rio Tinto and the big banks and their policies don’t fit real estate,” he said.

“Most of their policies focused on giving people time off work or holidays, but a real estate agent doesn’t get holidays.

“How does a real estate agent who has listings on the weekend hide from domestic violence?

“So, I said we need to look at our industry specifically because it’s very different to someone working in a bank or the government.”

The Agency Group Founder and Executive Director Paul Niardone and Allied Services Manager Stacey Dragicevich. Photo: The Agency

He said one of the issues with the government program was that you need to apply and the process takes time.

Whereas The Agency’s program will make the money available immediately and people will still have the ability to access the government funds after applying.

“When you’re in a violent relationship, you can’t really wait for an approval to come through,” he said.

Allied Service Manager at The Agency and facilitator to The Agency’s WA-based female working group, Stacey Dragicevich, said she was very proud to see senior management of The Agency Group introduce significantly enhanced support for victims of domestic violence. 

“Reducing domestic violence and providing better support for victims is an issue which I am very passionate about and I will continue to call for a greater response from the community,” Ms Dragicevich said.

“The impact of domestic violence is not just physical, it is also psychological, emotional and financial. 

“The introduction of these policies, while not an exhaustive solution, provides a meaningful contribution helping to reduce feelings of insecurity at a time when victims feel most vulnerable.”

Mr Niardone said society as a whole needed to tackle domestic violence.

“While there are many worthwhile causes which certainly require greater support, I am sure I am not alone in being shocked at the prevalence of domestic violence within the community,” Mr Niardone said.

“Resolving the domestic violence crisis is not just reserved for government or the legal system, it demands a response from corporate groups and, more broadly, society as whole.

“In addition to some of the high-profile cases which have been recently documented, some of the less-known statistics are equally appalling with one-in-six women reporting to have experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner and reports domestic violence from women as young as 15 years old.

“These numbers are not acceptable and while raising awareness is important, so too is action – and I am pleased to see that The Agency Group is playing an active role in enhancing support for victims.”

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