How can workplaces improve responses to family violence?

'Sometimes colleagues are the only people outside of family who know about the violence'

How can workplaces improve responses to family violence?

The Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Iain Lees-Galloway, and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary on Domestic and Sexual Violence, Jan Logie MP, have met with business leaders to talk about the importance of workplace responses to family violence.

The meeting comes ahead of the Domestic Violence Victims’ Protection Act taking effect on 1 April.

Lees-Galloway said The Domestic Violence Victims’ Protection Act enhances legal protections in the workplace for people affected by domestic or family violence, providing for domestic violence leave and flexible working arrangements.

“The Act takes effect on 1 April, and we encourage employers to ensure they have good policy and practice in place to support workers affected by family violence,” he said.

Moreover, the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is working with government and non-government partners to develop information for employers to implement the Act and improve workplace responses to family violence.

Information and resources will be available on government websites, sent out directly to employers, and in workplaces.

A Family Violence Policy Builder provides support for employers to develop fit-for-purpose policies that support workplace responses to family violence.

Lees-Galloway added that it’s good for employers to have a family violence policy so that staff and managers know what to expect, and how to respond if their colleagues are impacted by violence.

“For example, temporarily changing a person’s work schedule can help protect them and their co-workers from abusive calls, emails or visits,” he said.

“It’s appropriate to bring a focus onto family violence in the lead up to International Women’s Day. Family violence is a significant problem and we all have a role in responding to it.”

In some cases, victims who have been killed have not been in touch with support agencies, according to Lees-Galloway.

Sometimes colleagues are the only people outside of family who know about the violence.

This provides a framework to ensure victims are safe at work and employers know how to help.

“The government is focused on improving all parts of the family violence system and the new Act provides for better responses in the workplace.”

Moreover, community organisations such as Women’s Refuge and SHINE are providing training for workplaces on how to ensure safe and appropriate responses to staff affected by violence.

HRD recently reported that Stuff has become just the fourth employer overall to be DVFREE Tick accredited.

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