Why your business needs to talk about domestic and family violence

Domestic and family violence (DFV) is one of the most serious and urgent challenges confronting modern Australian society. Your workplace must know how to manage a situation if it arises.


The Victorian Chamber is a supporting partner of the Workplace Health and Safety Show, which will take place in Melbourne on 25-26 May 2022 and in Sydney on 20-21 September 2022.

Please join as we present a panel discussion and series of interactive workshops, including a discussion about what businesses can do to better manage domestic and family violence in the workplace.

Consider the following facts:

  • On average, one woman every week is murdered by her current or former partner in Australia
  • Almost 10 women every day are hospitalised after being assaulted by a spouse or domestic partner
  • Violence against women is the biggest contributor to ill health and premature death in women aged 15-44.

As the majority of victims, survivors and perpetrators are in paid employment, DFV is not solely a private issue as the consequences inevitably follow those who are affected into the workplace.

Accordingly, modern employers need to understand how to manage the range of workplace issues that DFV presents. Consider how you would respond if:

  • An aggressive ex-partner of one of your employees gained entry to your workplace
  • One of your employees requests a flexible working arrangement so she can manage a range of DFV associated activities (e.g., attending counselling, court hearings, custody issues etc.)
  • An underperforming employee raises DFV as a mitigating factor in the context of a disciplinary process.

DFV in the workplace

Here are three things your business can do now to improve the way you respond to DFV in your workplace:

1. Train your managers

As with any complex workplace issue, nothing beats talking through the issues with a skilled facilitator and like-minded managers who share similar challenges.

Training your managers will ensure that they know how to spot the early warning signs of DFV and intervene appropriately, and that they understand the complex legal issues that come into play when DFV interacts with safety, IR, workers compensation and privacy laws.

2. Treat DFV as a workplace safety issue

Your most important obligation as an employer to your staff is to provide a safe workplace for your employees, contractors, and members of the public. Although specific instances may be unforeseeable, DFV is sadly a widespread problem in our society and every employer needs to anticipate that they will be impacted by it at some point in time.

Treat DFV as a traditional workplace hazard and manage it in the same way as any other by using risk-management principles.

3. Develop a DFV strategy

As a business, you have an important role to play in reducing the stigma associated with DFV. Your workplace has the opportunity to build and maintain a workplace culture where DFV is not normalised and barriers to disclosure are removed.

Join us at the Workplace Health and Safety Show 2022

Anton Zytnik, Manager Health Safety and Wellbeing, will be presenting an interactive workshop on Managing Domestic and Family Violence in the Workplace on Wednesday 25 May from 3:40 PM to 4:30 PM on the Spotlight Stage.

The Victorian Chamber is a supporting partner of the Workplace Health and Safety Show, which will take place in Melbourne on 25 – 26 May 2022, and in Sydney on 20 – 21 September 2022.



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