Our Watch

Skip to content

    Design a domestic violence policy for your community and workplace

    There are a wide range of policies and processes that can improve gender equality in the workplace. These include: 

    • support for employees experiencing domestic and family violence 
    • parental leave – as an inclusive form of leave that includes anyone providing care to a child 
    • flexible working arrangements, to support parents and caregivers 
    • equitable pay and promotion 
    • sexual harassment and respectful behaviour policies 
    • blind recruitment processes – to review candidates without knowing personal details to limit unconscious bias 
    • recruitment policies that allow for selection criteria to include a demonstrated commitment to gender equality 
    • opportunities for training in gender equality and in identifying and responding to domestic and family violence. 

    Domestic and family violence employee support policies

    Increasingly, employers are introducing domestic and family violence policies to support employees affected by domestic and family violence. 

    The violence that people experience in their private lives may have flow on effects in their public and professional lives. For example, the violence could lead to increased absenteeism, decreased job satisfaction, decreased productivity and staff turnover. Statistically there will be employees in most workplaces that have experienced domestic and family violence at some point in their lifetime. There may also be people who choose to use violence. 

    Having an internal policy on domestic and family violence not only supports managers to address the impacts of domestic and family violence but it also socialises and reinforces the workplace’s firm opposition to domestic and family violence in all its forms. A policy should include: 

    • Flexible working arrangements: to cover time away for appointments, court dates, making alternative accommodation arrangements. 
    • Specific leave provisions: domestic and family violence paid / unpaid leave provisions. 
    • Safety Planning: this is designed to include additional safety measures to support an employee in crisis. 
    • Privacy and confidentiality: clear guidelines on how reported information will be stored. 
    • Employee performance: taking reasonable consideration of the impact of domestic and family violence on an employee’s performance. 
    • Training and awareness: to ensure that employees and managers are aware of and trained in how to use the policy and manage disclosures. It is particularly important that those managing the policy receive training on implementing the policy. 
    • Provisions for responding to perpetrators: clear guidelines to manage disclosures of perpetration of violence and referrals to support services or police where appropriate. 
    • Mandatory reporting requirements (or Reportable Conduct Scheme – if applicable) in cases where children may be impacted by the violence.

    Next step

    Take action in your community

    Supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.