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Domestic violence: What if your employee is a perpetrator?

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HC Online | 05 Nov 2014, 12:07 PM Agree 0
What action should you take if an employee is the perpetrator of domestic violence? HC investigates
  • WBNIxon | 05 Nov 2014, 12:58 PM Agree 0
    You identified a very relevant and important issue unfortunately your article does not really address how organizations should deal with perpetrators. I am sure we all can agree that support should be given to victims to help them as much as possible. However, it is my view that unless we start to give serious attention to helping perpetrators change their behavior their will not be any meaningful progress on this issue. We will forever be stuck in a perpetual cycle of victims. Accordingly, perpetrators should be confronted with the fact their behavior is wrong and inappropriate and then required to take part in a development program that will help them through the journey to change their ways. Perpetrators have to earn a living so employers can be a powerful force in causing change to happen.
  • kevin | 05 Nov 2014, 01:07 PM Agree 0
    OMG Mental Illness and now Domestic Violence. Just what do we want our workplaces to become. Just these too very sensitive issues would stretch the capacity and capability of our supervisors and managers to respond to such matters effectively. We appear to be quickly approaching a point where you can come to work when you want to and when you come bring all your baggage and we will do the best we can to resolve all of your life problems. I know there are some out there who would call me names for making such a statement but one has to ask, when are the demands on the employer going to stop because at the present they seem to know no bounds.
  • Catherine Cahill | 06 Nov 2014, 09:03 AM Agree 0
    Employers cannot take responsibility for the destructive behaviours of the employees outside of work hours. They have no legal grounds to do so, and as Kevin said, no time or resources to effectively address such complex issues.

    When out of hours behaviour impacts on work performance, then it is the work performance that needs to be addressed.

  • caca | 06 Nov 2014, 11:33 AM Agree 0
    I agree with Kevin and Catherine.
    When does responsibility fall back on the individual?
    Employer is not mom/dad to employees.
  • Australia's CEO Challenge - Nathalie | 06 Nov 2014, 11:57 AM Agree 0
    Fantastic article. We have been working with workplaces for 14 years now addressing domestic violence and handling perpetrators and the person being abused whilst keeping the latter employed. So good to see the media taking this seriously and dedicating an article to it. We provide workplaces who take up our Workplace Domestic Violence Prevention Program with a best practice policy that covers both victims and perpetrators, and specialist training to apply the policy appropriately. We're national so if you need any advice, please do contact us through our website:
  • Amanda Rochford | 06 Nov 2014, 12:25 PM Agree 0
    Employees are people. People are the sum of their experiences. It is not possible to have a staff member come to work and leave behind the memory of having bashed his wife or having slapped the kids around. You cannot turn memories or feelings on and off at whim. This is not a demand nor is it a request to be mom/dad. It is simply an acknoweldgement that these situations exist and sometimes they will affect your staff in your workplace. Perpetrators of domestic violence will have difficulty relating to colleagues too. It gets us to think in advance of how best to respond.
  • Bernie Althofer | 06 Nov 2014, 02:39 PM Agree 0
    There is no longer a clear delineation between work and home issues. Unfortunately, the lines are blurred and in cases of any form of violence, there is always an impact on the workplace.

    Having been a Regional Domestic Violence Liaison Officer in a policing environment, the impact on not the aggrieved but also the workplace and those who support the aggrieved is real.

    It might be the case that until one has to manage those involved in domestic violence, that the impact is not really understood. When the aggrieved requires periods of sick leave to recover from assaults, when they are psychologically traumatised by their experience, when they have difficulty in performing day to day tasks, when they live in fear that the perpetrator will come to their workplace and commit further acts of violence on them (the aggrieved) or on work colleagues for protecting or supporting the aggrieved, it is difficult to say that there is no work impact.

    Given the nature and impact of domestic violence, there are situations whereby workplaces are simply not aware of either aggrieved persons or perpetrators. It is in my view, that workplaces understand the complexity and dynamics of domestic violence, understand that the impact this may have on their workplace, and have discussions regarding strategies that can be implemented to encourage and support aggrieved persons, support perpetrators who seek assistance to change behaviours, and know that in this day and age, work health and safety legislation has crossed many boundaries and even Courts, Commissions and Tribunals appear to be making decisions on family related violence as it appears in the context of a workplace.
  • HR Guru | 07 Nov 2014, 03:39 PM Agree 0
    Nice stereotype Amanda Rochford, I guess women don't engage in domestic violence either?
  • Bernie Althofer | 08 Nov 2014, 04:49 PM Agree 0
    It would appear that the ACTU wants paid domestic violence leave included in modern awards so this appears that this Union recognises the broader implications that domestic violence has in the workplace.

    Given that it appears that the ACTU wants 10 days leave for permanent staff, 10 days unpaid leave for casuals and the right to request a change in working arrangements included in all awards, this would have implications for managers if the claim is successful.

    At the moment, under the Fair Work Act 2009, employees experiencing family violence or providing care and support to immediate family or household members experiencing such violence can request flexible work arrangements.

    It might be the case that some employees and even managers are not aware of this situation. If there is such a requirement than workplaces would be well advised to ensure that managers and workers are aware of the relevant provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009.
  • Catherine Cahill | 10 Nov 2014, 11:56 AM Agree 0
    Why would you particularly want a separate leave provision for domestic violence? What if someone is the victim of random street violence? What if someone has an illness that extends beyond the statutory 10 days sick leave? What if a person suffers from an non work related trauma?

    We have 10 days' sick leave and 20 days' annual leave, plus public holidays. If we are going to create 10 days' of additional leave, then we need to have a broader discussion about how much the business community can realistically absorb.
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