Organisational best practice


Roundtable outcomes

The Summit roundtables identified a number of key insights and suggested actions, summarised below.

Key insights identified by roundtable participants

  • Gender equity needs to be the foundation of any workplace responses to domestic and family violence.

  • Domestic and family violence workplace policies are important as one component of a comprehensive workplace response.

  • Partnerships with domestic and family violence service providers help drive best practice workplace responses.

  • Nationally consistent standards and tools relating to workplace responses to domestic and family violence should be developed.

  • Information and resources should be shared to drive effective workplace responses to domestic and family violence.

  • Workplace responses to support perpetrators seeking to change behaviour should be extended.

  • Jurisdictions should collaborate to determine how to better measure success.

  • Specific paid leave is recommended for people affected by domestic and family violence.

A number of contributions to the online roundtables have also been received. Those contributions are still being reviewed but some of the main themes and ideas highlighted include:

  • All organisations have a role to play in stopping violence before it starts – changing the attitudes, cultures and behaviours that can lead to violence.

  • There is a need to address underlying causes of inequality, such as unconscious bias, gender stereotyping, role modelling and social norms around gender.

  • Workplaces, sporting clubs, local councils, arts and media outlets can play a role in promoting equality and respect, and by doing so they help to create culture change across the community.

  • Comprehensive workplace responses include domestic and family violence policies, visible leadership, training and capability development, partnerships and evaluation.

  • Comprehensive workplace responses enable access to support services and advice that can empower victims to make safe choices for themselves and their children, including leaving a violent relationship in a safe and sustainable way.


Discussion paper authored by Queensland in preparation for COAG National Summit

Background

There is a growing understanding that domestic and family violence (DFV) is a workplace issue. DFV can impact a person’s safety, wellbeing, attendance and performance at work. Research shows:



Organisations across all sectors, including government, business, and non-government can play a significant role in creating cultural change to ensure the safety of women and children and end domestic and family violence. Over one third of all organisations participating in the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s 2014-15 survey report have a formal policy or strategy in place to support employees experiencing domestic or family violence[5]. Some organisations have led by example by delivering comprehensive and innovative workplace responses, targeting internal employees and external customers. Many organisations face similar challenges and opportunities in addressing this type of violence. This roundtable will focus on the sharing of effective strategies, insights, and innovative developments in addressing DFV in a workplace context.

Issues

Comprehensive workplace responses aim to prevent violence, support affected employees, and promote respectful workplace cultures and gender equality. Key action areas that are visible in leading organisational strategies include:


  • Policy – these are clear, impactful, accessible and well-promoted
  • Leadership – there is visible commitment to champion cultural change
  • Capability – employees recognise signs of violence, respond and refer appropriately
  • Awareness and engagement – employees make violence prevention a workplace issue
  • Partnerships – targeted programs promote accountability and drive long-term change
  • Monitoring and evaluation – success of responses are measured and shared.


It is common for organisations to have DFV policies or strategies[6], however better practice suggests that more is required including:


  • A sustainable DFV workplace agenda – Workplaces need to integrate responses with respectful workplace culture, inclusion and diversity, and health, wellbeing and safety.
  • A comprehensiveresponses covering all employees – Many workplace support initiatives focus on victims only. Offering all affected employees (victims, perpetrators seeking behaviour change, bystanders, carers or those assisting) appropriate support options can achieve better outcomes.
  • One size won’t fit all –Unique needs, culture and authorising environment should be considered. Innovation approaches, such as design thinking, can assist organisations to focus on employee and client behaviour and translate insights into improved products, services and processes.
  • Target responses to improve impact – Address groups with immediate need (including women and their children experiencing violence) and complement with initiatives that acknowledge impacts of violence on other groups (for example, men, LGBTQI, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds).
  • Access to Workplace capability training and assistance in implementing DFV – The demand for services to assist organisations implementing DFV initiatives is not being met by the market. The national demand for employee capability development training outweighs current supply.
  • Measuring success is challenging – Confidentiality restricts data collection (for example, DFV leave is not reported for safety reasons, Employee Assistance Provider usage and employee opinion surveys may only provide trend data). Evaluation is therefore complex and demonstrating impact of policy is difficult.


In terms of recent best practice developments, various organisations have introduced innovative responses targeting internal and external stakeholders, moving beyond paid leave policies and capability-development training. These examples have potential application across sectors and include:


  • predictive analytics – for example, red flag systems identifying customer financial abuse
  • technology-based support tools – for example, virtual counselling or information via text message or online
  • financial support and cash advances for critical services – for example, cash advances for housing or legal and financial advice
  • driving continuous improvement of workplace initiatives through external accreditation partnership programs – for example, White Ribbon Australia workplace accreditation.


Other emerging developments with the potential to have national influence include:


  • The Victorian Government has funded Our Watch to develop workplace standards and tools for the prevention of violence against women. This package will be tested in different workplaces and made available publicly. It focuses on leadership, safe work environments, challenging gender stereotypes and norms, non-discriminatory work conditions, support for staff that experience violence, and engaging stakeholders.
  • The Industrial Relations Bill 2016, before Queensland Parliament, proposes leave provisions, the right to request flexible work arrangements (and appeal if request is declined), and to extend carer’s leave to care for any person affected by DFV in Queensland’s Employment Standards. If the Bill is approved, Queensland will be the first state with legislated DFV leave arrangements. The Bill also proposes to apply general protections and adverse action provisions to victims of DFV.
More information



Queensland Government 2016, Domestic and Family Violence, www.qld.gov.au/gov/domestic-and-family-violence


[1] Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse, Micromex, and University of New South Wales 2011, Gendered Violence and Work: Key findings - Safe at Home, Safe at Work? National Domestic Violence and the Workplace Survey 2011, https://www.arts.unsw.edu.au/media/FASSFile/Key_Findings__National_Domestic_Violence_and_the_Workplace_Survey_2011.pdf

[2]Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006, 4906.0 - Personal Safety, Australia, 2005 (Reissue), http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4906.02005%20(Reissue)?OpenDocument

[3] Australian Human Rights Commission 2011, Domestic Violence and the Workplace: Employee, Employer and Union Resources, https://www.humanrights.gov.au/sites/default/files/Annex%20A%20policies_and_procedures.pdf

[5]Workplace Gender Equality Agency 2015, Family and Domestic Violence Policies and Practices in Australian Workplaces, https://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/files/Family-and-domestic-violence-policies-and-practices-in-Australian-workplaces.pdf

[6]Workplace Gender Equality Agency 2015, Family and Domestic Violence Policies and Practices in Australian Workplaces, https://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/files/Family-and-domestic-violence-policies-and-practices-in-Australian-workplaces.pdf


Discussion questions


  • How can organisations make a difference through a well-designed DFV workplace response?
  • What is required to effectively implement nationally consistent workplace standards and tools for responding to DFV?
  • What are some of the most successful examples of workplace responses to DFV in different jurisdictions?





Contribute to the online roundtable discussion about organisational best practice


We want to hear your thoughts about the role organisations play in addressing domestic violence and supporting victims, both in the workplace and at home.


You can submit your ideas using the form below. For more information please see the About the Summit page or About online roundtables.




Roundtable outcomes

The Summit roundtables identified a number of key insights and suggested actions, summarised below.

Key insights identified by roundtable participants

  • Gender equity needs to be the foundation of any workplace responses to domestic and family violence.

  • Domestic and family violence workplace policies are important as one component of a comprehensive workplace response.

  • Partnerships with domestic and family violence service providers help drive best practice workplace responses.

  • Nationally consistent standards and tools relating to workplace responses to domestic and family violence should be developed.

  • Information and resources should be shared to drive effective workplace responses to domestic and family violence.

  • Workplace responses to support perpetrators seeking to change behaviour should be extended.

  • Jurisdictions should collaborate to determine how to better measure success.

  • Specific paid leave is recommended for people affected by domestic and family violence.

A number of contributions to the online roundtables have also been received. Those contributions are still being reviewed but some of the main themes and ideas highlighted include:

  • All organisations have a role to play in stopping violence before it starts – changing the attitudes, cultures and behaviours that can lead to violence.

  • There is a need to address underlying causes of inequality, such as unconscious bias, gender stereotyping, role modelling and social norms around gender.

  • Workplaces, sporting clubs, local councils, arts and media outlets can play a role in promoting equality and respect, and by doing so they help to create culture change across the community.

  • Comprehensive workplace responses include domestic and family violence policies, visible leadership, training and capability development, partnerships and evaluation.

  • Comprehensive workplace responses enable access to support services and advice that can empower victims to make safe choices for themselves and their children, including leaving a violent relationship in a safe and sustainable way.


Discussion paper authored by Queensland in preparation for COAG National Summit

Background

There is a growing understanding that domestic and family violence (DFV) is a workplace issue. DFV can impact a person’s safety, wellbeing, attendance and performance at work. Research shows:



Organisations across all sectors, including government, business, and non-government can play a significant role in creating cultural change to ensure the safety of women and children and end domestic and family violence. Over one third of all organisations participating in the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s 2014-15 survey report have a formal policy or strategy in place to support employees experiencing domestic or family violence[5]. Some organisations have led by example by delivering comprehensive and innovative workplace responses, targeting internal employees and external customers. Many organisations face similar challenges and opportunities in addressing this type of violence. This roundtable will focus on the sharing of effective strategies, insights, and innovative developments in addressing DFV in a workplace context.

Issues

Comprehensive workplace responses aim to prevent violence, support affected employees, and promote respectful workplace cultures and gender equality. Key action areas that are visible in leading organisational strategies include:


  • Policy – these are clear, impactful, accessible and well-promoted
  • Leadership – there is visible commitment to champion cultural change
  • Capability – employees recognise signs of violence, respond and refer appropriately
  • Awareness and engagement – employees make violence prevention a workplace issue
  • Partnerships – targeted programs promote accountability and drive long-term change
  • Monitoring and evaluation – success of responses are measured and shared.


It is common for organisations to have DFV policies or strategies[6], however better practice suggests that more is required including:


  • A sustainable DFV workplace agenda – Workplaces need to integrate responses with respectful workplace culture, inclusion and diversity, and health, wellbeing and safety.
  • A comprehensiveresponses covering all employees – Many workplace support initiatives focus on victims only. Offering all affected employees (victims, perpetrators seeking behaviour change, bystanders, carers or those assisting) appropriate support options can achieve better outcomes.
  • One size won’t fit all –Unique needs, culture and authorising environment should be considered. Innovation approaches, such as design thinking, can assist organisations to focus on employee and client behaviour and translate insights into improved products, services and processes.
  • Target responses to improve impact – Address groups with immediate need (including women and their children experiencing violence) and complement with initiatives that acknowledge impacts of violence on other groups (for example, men, LGBTQI, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds).
  • Access to Workplace capability training and assistance in implementing DFV – The demand for services to assist organisations implementing DFV initiatives is not being met by the market. The national demand for employee capability development training outweighs current supply.
  • Measuring success is challenging – Confidentiality restricts data collection (for example, DFV leave is not reported for safety reasons, Employee Assistance Provider usage and employee opinion surveys may only provide trend data). Evaluation is therefore complex and demonstrating impact of policy is difficult.


In terms of recent best practice developments, various organisations have introduced innovative responses targeting internal and external stakeholders, moving beyond paid leave policies and capability-development training. These examples have potential application across sectors and include:


  • predictive analytics – for example, red flag systems identifying customer financial abuse
  • technology-based support tools – for example, virtual counselling or information via text message or online
  • financial support and cash advances for critical services – for example, cash advances for housing or legal and financial advice
  • driving continuous improvement of workplace initiatives through external accreditation partnership programs – for example, White Ribbon Australia workplace accreditation.


Other emerging developments with the potential to have national influence include:


  • The Victorian Government has funded Our Watch to develop workplace standards and tools for the prevention of violence against women. This package will be tested in different workplaces and made available publicly. It focuses on leadership, safe work environments, challenging gender stereotypes and norms, non-discriminatory work conditions, support for staff that experience violence, and engaging stakeholders.
  • The Industrial Relations Bill 2016, before Queensland Parliament, proposes leave provisions, the right to request flexible work arrangements (and appeal if request is declined), and to extend carer’s leave to care for any person affected by DFV in Queensland’s Employment Standards. If the Bill is approved, Queensland will be the first state with legislated DFV leave arrangements. The Bill also proposes to apply general protections and adverse action provisions to victims of DFV.
More information



Queensland Government 2016, Domestic and Family Violence, www.qld.gov.au/gov/domestic-and-family-violence


[1] Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse, Micromex, and University of New South Wales 2011, Gendered Violence and Work: Key findings - Safe at Home, Safe at Work? National Domestic Violence and the Workplace Survey 2011, https://www.arts.unsw.edu.au/media/FASSFile/Key_Findings__National_Domestic_Violence_and_the_Workplace_Survey_2011.pdf

[2]Australian Bureau of Statistics 2006, 4906.0 - Personal Safety, Australia, 2005 (Reissue), http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4906.02005%20(Reissue)?OpenDocument

[3] Australian Human Rights Commission 2011, Domestic Violence and the Workplace: Employee, Employer and Union Resources, https://www.humanrights.gov.au/sites/default/files/Annex%20A%20policies_and_procedures.pdf

[5]Workplace Gender Equality Agency 2015, Family and Domestic Violence Policies and Practices in Australian Workplaces, https://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/files/Family-and-domestic-violence-policies-and-practices-in-Australian-workplaces.pdf

[6]Workplace Gender Equality Agency 2015, Family and Domestic Violence Policies and Practices in Australian Workplaces, https://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/files/Family-and-domestic-violence-policies-and-practices-in-Australian-workplaces.pdf


Discussion questions


  • How can organisations make a difference through a well-designed DFV workplace response?
  • What is required to effectively implement nationally consistent workplace standards and tools for responding to DFV?
  • What are some of the most successful examples of workplace responses to DFV in different jurisdictions?





Contribute to the online roundtable discussion about organisational best practice


We want to hear your thoughts about the role organisations play in addressing domestic violence and supporting victims, both in the workplace and at home.


You can submit your ideas using the form below. For more information please see the About the Summit page or About online roundtables.



  • Share your views

    Please limit your submission to 300 words. You are also welcome to upload videos or sound recordings.

    Your views may be presented to Summit participants in summary, in part or in full. They may also be used in any publication produced by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, or the Queensland Department of the Premier and Cabinet following the Summit.

    Please limit your submission to 300 words. You are also welcome to upload videos or sound recordings.

    Your views may be presented to Summit participants in summary, in part or in full. They may also be used in any publication produced by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, or the Queensland Department of the Premier and Cabinet following the Summit.

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