How workplaces can assist women experiencing domestic violence

by HCA06 Dec 2016
Every workplace can make a difference to the safety and wellbeing of people experiencing domestic violence, according to Michelle Grow, CEO of Davidson Trahaire Corpsych.
Grow told HC that all organisations can promote gender equality and provide a supportive and informed workplace. This will help enable employees to feel safe to disclose their situation to their employer.
Moreover, workplaces can identify domestic and family violence as workplace issues.
“Those in leadership and governance roles need to recognise that domestic violence is a workplace issue and be prepared to put in place appropriate responses,” said Grow.

“This will include clear policies and procedures that demonstrate a commitment to support employees experiencing domestic and family violence.”
Grow said there should also be a commitment to support reasonable requests such as flexible work arrangements, relocation, changes to contact details and access to leave, including special domestic violence leave if appropriate.
In particular, building understanding and capability within the organisation will support employees at all levels to support each other.
“However, investing in leaders to build their understanding and ability to respond and apply the company policy in this area is essential,” said Grow.
“Confidentiality of the employee’s information also needs to be managed to protect their privacy, as well as cooperation with any legal orders of protection.”
Education and awareness can be improved through a range of activities such as training, information sessions, newsletter articles, inclusion in OHS and team briefings, posters, and supporting special days such as White Ribbon Day.
Finally, Grow said workplaces can facilitate referrals to specialist domestic and family violence support services.
“There are a number of services to assist people in this area, both nationally and state-based,” said Grow.
“Workplaces can ensure they have up to date resource information so that when an employee is identified that requires support, the organisation is fully equipped to assist.”
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