Our work to support Victorians experiencing family violence has resulted in numerous developments in the energy and water sectors. View all resources here and learn more about our work in this area.
Family violence resources for businesses
Our work to support Victorians affected by family violence has resulted in developments in the energy and water sectors.
Use this page to learn more about our work and on the 'resources' tab find reports on family violence and presentations from our workshop series.
Our role in pressing for change
Family violence impacts on the lives of many Victorians. It can include physical violence, emotional abuse and financial abuse.
The Royal Commission into Family Violence found that essential services could be used by perpetrators of family violence to cause harm.
They might put a service in the name of a victim without their knowledge or consent, or intercept mail that identifies the victim's safe location. The financial impact of family violence (including financial abuse) also means that people affected by family violence may have trouble paying bills, particularly if they've had to move multiple times.
Victorian utilities, local governments and other businesses have demonstrated a great willingness to assist people affected by family violence.
In collaboration with family violence experts we've worked closely with water businesses and energy retailers on how to provide safe and flexible assistance to customers affected by family violence.
This work is complex and continues to evolve. The ESC will continue to support shared learning across Victorian businesses to ensure the highest level of support across the state.
'The victim's choices, their ability to participate freely in everyday life is taken from them. It is the deprivation of that basic right, that right to participate freely in every day life, that is what we are here to discuss.'
- Former ESC Chairperson, Dr Ron Ben-David, speaking at our project launch in August 2018.
Current family violence resources
These key resources were developed to support work in the energy and water sectors to help customers experiencing family violence.
View the 'resources' tab for a library of all family violence-related reports, projects, media articles and other pages.
Our family violence work: a timeline
The Royal Commission into Family Violence released 227 recommendations. We were assigned responsibility for implementing recommendation 109, which related to updating the Energy Retail Code and water customer service codes.
We updated the Energy Retail Code to better protect residential electricity and gas customers anticipating or facing payment difficulty and included family violence as part of the eligibility criteria.
We collaborated with family violence experts and water businesses to make changes to customer service codes for water businesses. The changes introduced obligations on water businesses to develop a family violence policy that included minimum requirements defined by the water customer service codes.
We also published our first better practice guide with examples of better practice approached to family violence support. This guide contained examples of policies, including the commission's own family violence policy for staff.
We audited water businesses for compliance with the water customer service code We also began our family violence resources review for the energy retail sector, collaborating with energy retailers, water businesses and family violence experts.
In October 2018 we released an issues paper exploring ways energy retailers can provide family violence assistance that is
safe and effective.
We announced changes to the Energy Retail Code that will come into effect on 1 January 2020. These changes aim to give customers affected by family violence an entitlement to safe, supportive and flexible assistance in managing their personal and financial security.
We published our revised better practice guide with in-depth case examples from across multiple industries. We also reported on the outcomes for customers following the family violence changes to the water customer service codes.
At the Victorian energy open forum on 27 August 2019, we spoke to energy industry stakeholders about our family violence work.
Current family violence resources
Past family violence resources
Changes to our codes for customers affected by family violence
View documents that outline changes we made to energy and water codes in relation to our family violence work.
Presentations from our family violence workshops
Media releases on our family violence work
Around 100 representatives from energy businesses and the community sector are in Melbourne today to talk about providing better support for people experiencing family violence.
Articles and speeches on our family violence work
Projects related to family violence reforms
Victorian energy open forum 2019
Our first forum for energy industry stakeholders on 27 August 2019 covered the retail market review, the Victorian Default Offer, the Electricity Distribution Code review and protections for life support customers. Use this page to review summaries of each session and download related presentations and other useful resources.