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Family Violence (Staff Support) procedure

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure is effective from 13 December 2023.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Procedure outlines the steps that staff who are currently experiencing, or who have previously experienced family violence can take to access available support mechanisms. 

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Section 3 - Scope

(3) This Procedure applies to all staff.

(4) Reports of family violence impacting children are managed through the Child Safety policy.

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Section 4 - Policy

(5) This Procedure is pursuant to the Family Violence (Staff and Student Support) policy.

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Section 5 - Procedure

(6) The University will adopt a collaborative approach to supporting staff who are currently experiencing, or have previously experienced family violence. The University's Safer Community will act as the central point of enquiry for information, advice and support and will engage with internal and external stakeholders as appropriate.

Requesting support

(7) Staff who are currently experiencing, or have previously experienced family violence can disclose their experience to another trusted staff member. This includes, but is not limited to:

  1. a staff member within the University's Safer Community
  2. their leader; 
  3. a Harassment and Discrimination Contact Officer
  4. their Senior People and Culture Partner; 
  5. a University health professional;
  6. Deakin Security.

Staff Training

(8) The University provides professional development for staff to understand and respond to interpersonal violence. All staff are encouraged to engage with the available programs, in particular those staff listed as a disclosure contact point in clause 7.

Managing requests for support and responding to a disclosure

(9) Any individual receiving a disclosure will:

  1. respect the rights of the staff member to make their own decisions regarding their personal affairs and avoid judgement; and
  2. bring the Family Violence (Staff and Student Support) policy and this Procedure to the attention of the affected staff member; and
  3. where appropriate, support the person to connect with Safer Community; and
  4. report the disclosure to Safer Community as soon as practicable. If the person making the disclosure does not provide consent for their identity to be shared, the person making the report to Safer Community may withhold this information. Safer Community will provide advice regarding appropriate support and referral services.

Support measures available to staff

(10) Safer Community can support and assist staff who are currently experiencing, or have previously experienced family violence to access available support measures. Support measures available through Deakin may include but are not limited to:

  1. flexible work arrangements: changes to hours of work and changes to location of work.
  2. leave arrangements: access to family and domestic violence leave and special leave (see clauses 11-16 of this procedure).  
  3. safety planning: changes to work phone numbers or email addresses, blocking of particular email contacts or telephone numbers, assistance from Deakin security while on campus, arriving at, or leaving campus. Safety planning will be coordinated by Safer Community, in consultation with other areas of the University as required, on a confidential basis.
  4. medical and psychological support provided by the University health and wellbeing services and/or Employee Wellbeing Support (EWS) service.
  5. other reasonable provisions determined on a case, by case basis, such as advice, information and referrals to appropriate support agencies.

Leave Arrangements

(11) Staff who are experiencing or have experienced family violence can request:

  1. ten days family and domestic violence leave on full pay in a twelve-month period. Casual professional and sessional academic staff can access paid family and domestic violence leave for duties that would have been completed but for the taking of approved, paid family and domestic violence leave. Leave may be taken in one block or as individual days throughout the twelve-month period
  2. special leave in addition to the ten days paid family and domestic violence leave set out in clause 11a. 
  3. other types of leave offered by Deakin in accordance with the Leave and Public Holidays procedure.

(12) Staff can request family and domestic violence leave via:

  1. Safer Community;
  2. their Senior People and Culture Partner;
  3. emailing dfvleave@deakin.edu.au.

(13) Staff may be required to submit documentation to support requests for family and domestic violence leave and special leave.

(14) Supporting documentation can be in the form of a document issued by:

  1. the police
  2. a court
  3. a medical practitioner
  4. a government agency
  5. a counselling professional, or
  6. in some circumstances a statutory declaration from the staff member may be accepted.

(15) Leave requests lodged in accordance with clause 11 will be processed by the designated approver within the People Services (Wellbeing Team). Staff who are taking leave may request support from any of the parties listed in clause 12 when informing their line manager of their absence from work. Staff are not required to disclose to their line manager that they are taking family and domestic violence leave. 

(16) Family and domestic violence leave may be granted for a range of reasons, including but not limited to:

  1. seeking medical, legal or financial assistance
  2. attending court appearances
  3. making arrangements for children or any other people for whom the staff member has carer responsibilities
  4. organising alternative accommodation, or
  5. counselling or other related appointments.

Record keeping

(17) Any notes of meetings, discussions and actions proposed or taken must be stored in a secure location in accordance with the Privacy policy. All information pertaining to a staff member's personal circumstances in terms of family violence must be kept confidential and not be placed on their personnel file unless they have provided consent to do so.

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Section 6 - Definitions

(18) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. family violence: as defined in the Family Violence (Staff and Student Support) policy.
  2. staff:  as defined in the Family Violence (Staff and Student Support) policy.