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PLAY

How To Develop A Domestic Violence Policy

Written by EVELYN KANDRIS
24 June, 2024

We speak to Delia Donovan (CEO of DV NSW) and Lisa McAdams (Founder of Safe Space Workplace) on how to develop a dignified, authentic DV Policy in the workplace.

DELIA DONOVAN

CEO of DV NSW

"Think broader than just having a Domestic Violence Leave Policy. Think about how workplaces support victim-survivors - practice and culture is key here and should include:

  • Providing a safe work environment that promotes respect and gender equity.
  • Providing opportunities for employees to disclose their experience of Family + Domestic Violence and seek support, if they choose to.
  • Avoiding pressuring employees to talk about Family + Domestic Violence if they don't want to.
  • Providing information for employees on where they can obtain help.
  • Protecting the privacy of employees experiencing Family + Domestic Violence.
  • Being flexible to support people experiencing violence to maintain their employment (which ensures financial benefits, as well as dignity and normality).
  • Recognising how difficult it can be for victims/survivors to leave an abusive relationship.
  • Recognising that the period leading up to a victim/survivor leaves, and after, can be the riskiest, in terms of their safety.
  • Knowing the local specialist Family + Domestic Violence services and Women’s Court Advocacy Services to refer employees experiencing F+DV.
  • Proactively learning about Family + Domestic Violence, sharing information with employees, and contributing to efforts to prevent violence and increase gender equity.

When developing DV policies, you should also look at practices that practically support victim-survivors, such as:

  • The space, time and access to use a different computer and/or mobile phone, to access support services/information.
  • Access to meeting rooms during work time to have confidential conversations.
  • Flexibility in lunch breaks or start/finish time

These are just a few examples; always follow the lead of the victim-survivor on what support they need, and validate and believe their experiences. I also highly recommend checking our Insight Exchange's 'Workplace Responses' resource when developing your DV Policy."

- DELIA DONOVAN

DOWNLOAD DV POLICY RESOURCES TOOLKIT

TAKE OUR DV POLICY PLEDGE

LISA MCADAMS

Founder of Safe Space Workplace

“Every event I go to, every talk I give, I am talking to the privileged; it costs too much money to pull people away from the call centres, or the warehouses.

So when you’re having events or internal discussions, who are you inviting? Are these people represented, are they present? Or is it their managers’ managers’ manager that's invited? Do they have the time away from their jobs to have these talks? go back and talk? Do they have time away from their desk to have an event, too?

Include them – not just DV, but in all of your events. How many of those staff are in the nice events, with the cupcakes or good food? If they're not there, they don't feel part of the whole. It’s one of the things I love about Two Good – we all have lunch together, there is no us and them.

So have meetings with them. Ask them personally, what would help people at their level disclose? Because they've got more to lose. The less you've got, the less savings you've got; if you do need to take more time-off more than the allotted 10 days of Domestic Violence Leave, these people might be living hand-to-mouth.

The more often they're invited to the table, the more they're going to believe that they matter.

It's not a lack of care in most cases; it's a lack of understanding.”

- LISA MCADAMS


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