The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) surveyed property managers earlier this month about their dealings with domestic violence issues while on the job.
The survey found 57 per cent of property managers have coped with domestic violence in tenancies over the past 12 months, with 30 per cent managing such issues two or three times each year.
REIA President Adrian Kelly said 55 per cent of survey respondents believed toolkits would help support them.
“We are urging governments to address how property managers can gain support from local law enforcement and departments,” Mr Kelly said.
“Resources such as increased coaching and mentoring on how to deal with situations as they arise will be instrumental in keeping these workers safe.”
Half of the surveyed property managers said support from police or a local department would assist them (50 per cent), while 43 per cent wanted coaching to help with domestic violence.
“Toolkits for both property managers and tenants are the most useful area of support, in particular, for less experienced staff, while coaching and mentoring would assist in awareness of rights and responsibilities, diffusion and even self-defence,” Mr Kelly said.
“Additional feedback from the survey highlighted a need for clarity of reporting obligations for property managers, consideration of inclusion of a ‘zero tolerance’ policy in both workplace and lease agreements, relevant physical protections and establishing a national database of violence tenants.”
Mr Kelly recognised that state and territory institutes already had family and domestic violence awareness activities and toolkits, but he urged the Federal Government to create a national plan.
“The survey will inform the next National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children and seek to understand how Australia’s property managers are dealing and responding to domestic violence in tenancies,” he said.
“We all have a role to play in stamping out this deplorable activity and we are keen to support our hardworking property managers do exactly that in a safe way.”
Research from Equity Economics indicates 7690 women are forced to return to domestic or family violence perpetrators each year, due to having nowhere else affordable to live.
An additional 9120 women become homeless each year due to leaving domestic and family violence situations.
If you or somebody you know are struggling with mental health, please contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline at 13 11 14 for 24-hour support. If you or somebody you know are struggling with domestic violence, please contact 1800Respect (1800 737 732).