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    Run a training session with your staff

    Our workplaces have a significant influence on us professionally and personally and help shape our attitudes, beliefs and behaviours around gender equality and violence against women.    

    Training staff is one of the key steps that a local government can take to create an environment where all women and people of all genders are not only safe but also respected, valued and treated as equals.   

    Prior to delivering violence against women prevention or response training to staff, it is important to consider certain factors.

    The context of the training

    • What is the context of this training, for example: how did the workplace come to be doing Workplace Equality and Respect training and at what stage of the organisational process is your local government? What has happened so far as part of this work? 
    • Who is leading the work and who has been involved to date? Who should you direct questions to if questions about the workplace process are asked during training? 
    • Is this training being initiated in response to a community concern (for example, high reported rates of family violence in the community), a workplace concern (for example, concerns about workplace sexism or sexual harassment), a legislative requirement (for example, a new Act) or is the training more opportunistic because funding has become available?

    Read more about how to talk about the prevention toolkit for local government.

    Workplace demographic information

    What is the type of workplace? Is it generally open to new ideas and supportive of equality and social issess progressive? Does this training have support from senior leaders, including elected leaders?  

    • How many staff? How many staff will attend and levels of seniority? Will training be optional (staff can self-nominate) or compulsory?  
    • Where is the workplace located? Do you have multiple sites and therefore multiple training locations? 
    • Gender breakdown of workforce overall and in particular roles (is there gender segregation in certain parts of the organisation?) 
    • Any other demographic information about the workforce that is pertinent, for example, you must ensure the training is accessible to staff members with a disability. 
    • Does the workplace have particular language that you use (for example, clients, stakeholders, service users) or images of the workforce  which you would like inserted? 
    • Do you have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)? Should this number be provided as part of training? Does the EAP provider have expertise in responding to workplace and domestic and family violence? 
    • Are there any other plans/ policies/ vision statements within the workplace that you could or might want to refer to (for example,  a domestic and family violence statement of commitment)? 
    • Is there any sector specific legislation that you should refer to (for example, Gender Equality Act, or Public Health Act)? 
    • Who is their Employee Assistance Program (EAP)? Should his number be provided as part of training? Does the EAP provider have expertise in responding to family and domestic violence?
    • Are there any other plans/policies/vision statements within the workplace that you could or might want to refer to?
    • Is there any sector specific legislation that you should refer to, (for example, Gender Equality Act, or Public Health Act)? 

    Previous training and/or prevention actions within the workplace 

    • Has there been any responding to violence, gender equality or prevention of violence against women training previous to this training? Who attended? When? What did it cover? 
    • Was this training evaluated and what was learnt? 
    • Is there any other training planned that is related to this work, for example bystander action training?     


    The training context and facilitation

    • Workplace Equality and Respect offers a step-by-step process that enables you to assess your organisation and identify key actions to make lasting change and a suite of freely available tools and resources that help support you to take action.   
    • An ANROWS report found there was evidence to suggest that successful implementation of training for all staff on prevention requires effort to engage male managers and increase male staff participation (see on page 24, ANROWS 2019).  
    • Engaging an external organisation (for example, women’s health service) instead of delivering the training in-house would reduce the risk of backlash towards any staff member (see on page 25, ANROWS 2019).  
    • Having a balance of female and male training facilitators can be a useful way to model gender equality and respectful relationships. 
    • Ensure the facilitation team have planned how to set up a ‘safe space’ for the training, minimising the risk of re-traumatising survivors of family violence, planning for how to respond to disclosures and how to provide referrals and support services. 
    • Consider the appropriate format and duration of your training. Will the training be delivered in one longer session, or over several shorter sessions? There may be pros and cons to different approaches, for example, it may be harder to get participants to commit to several sessions, on the other hand, breaking up the training allows time for reflection and deeper learning to take place.  

    Case study

    City of Mandurah: Working with an external trainer to undertake bystander training

    Western Australia’s regional City of Mandurah region has high population growth and has been subject to economic stress, with an unemployment rate of 7.7 percent. Additionally, reports of domestic and family violence have been on the rise.

    The City of Mandurah decided to conduct bystander training across the organisation and partnered with a Western Australian organisation that provides training to local governments and worked with them to develop a new bystander training curriculum.

    The City implemented compulsory training, including Managers and Executive staff. The reason for this approach was to demonstrate commitment to supporting the reduction of domestic and family violence as well as ensuring consistent training across the organisation on gender equality, discrimination, harassment and bullying within the work place.

    Almost 90 percent of employees have completed the training. Participants in the bystander training reported a 77 percent increase in awareness and understanding in a number of key domestic and family violence prevention areas, including:

    • Domestic and family violence info and awareness
    • Bystander advice and awareness and the importance of speaking up
    • How and where to report/get help
    • How to treat others with respect and consideration
    • How to appropriately deal with harassment and bullying
    • Awareness of inequality
    • Statistics on domestic and family violence.

    The training organisation can now offer bystander action training to other local governments in Western Australia. Within the City of Mandurah, people have shown a greater awareness of domestic and family violence and bystander action. The working group is now exploring the feedback from the training and using this data to support the development of new initiatives.

    Next step

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    Supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.