What’s your policy?
Set the policy that’s right for your business
Why implement a Family Violence Policy?
As an employer it's important to recognise you can be a powerful agent of change in tackling family violence. In addition to your role as an employer, you can also provide community leadership and shape our culture and society.
What do you need to put in your Family Violence Policy?
Consider providing additional leave to employees who are victims of family violence. Some employers provide 10 days of paid leave a year to employees to go to court, to an appointment with the bank, children’s school, a doctor or counsellor or any of the things that need to be done in a time of crisis.
Your policy can also provide for flexible work requests if a staff member is worried about their safety at work. Additional measures that can be taken include changing the employee’s work location and/or hours of work, altering the employee’s work telephone numbers, removal of any personal mobiles from the staff directory, security guards on site, safe parking options explored.
You may also want to consider providing paid leave to employees who are supporting a family member or friend who is a victim of family violence to attend those appointments.
Some businesses provide extended unlimited free counselling through EAP to support employees. Others have a whistleblower line to allow for colleagues to report confidentially if they feel a work mate is suffering.
Some employers have formalised their commitment to supporting their employees by including clauses regarding family violence support in the Collective Employment Agreements and Individual Employment Agreements.
Confidentiality is key and should be protected as much as possible so employees are not treated less favourably if a disclosure of domestic violence is made.
Consider allowing perpetrators or users of family violence to take leave either paid or unpaid leave for rehabilitation-based activity.
How long will implementing a family violence policy take?
It does not need to be a lengthy process. Consider using the policy we have created available on this website, to build a policy that works for your business.
Should we seek external support when developing our policy? If yes, who from?
Support organisations such as Women’s Refuge, Shine, White Ribbon can offer advice and support to your business. They can also offer training for staff, which it is important to provide when a family violence policy is implemented.
Empowered staff will be able to provide support to their colleagues, showing them where to find information to stay safe, where to go for referrals to EAP counselling and that they can take steps to apply for special leave.
What else will useful to consider when developing your policy?
How to promote why this policy is necessary to senior leaders in the business. There may be questions as to why this policy is necessary or fear the policy will be misused. This has not proved to be the case for employers that have implemented a family violence policy.
You may also need to consider how to promote support for the abusers/users of violence as people sometimes struggle with this issue.