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Domestic and Family Violence (Staff Support) Procedure

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) This Procedure was approved by the Vice-Chancellor on 5 March 2016.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(2) This Procedure outlines the steps that staff members experiencing domestic or family violence can take to access available support mechanisms (including special leave).

(3) This Procedure is pursuant to the Domestic and Family Violence (Staff and Student Support) Policy and gives effect to the situations of domestic or family violence clauses contained in the Deakin University Enterprise Agreement 2013.

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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This procedure applies to all staff of the University.

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Section 4 - Policy

(5) Refer to the Domestic and Family Violence (Staff and Student Support) Policy.

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Section 5 - Procedure

(6) Deakin will adopt a collaborative approach to supporting staff experiencing domestic or family violence. The University's Safer Community Services will act as the central point of enquiry for information, advice and support and will work positively with other internal and external avenues of assistance and the affected staff member so that he/she can continue to work.

Requesting support

(7) A staff member experiencing domestic or family violence can elect to contact

  1. staff within the University Safer Community Services; or
  2. their supervisor; or
  3. a harassment and discrimination contact officer; or
  4. their HR Client Partner; or
  5. a University health professional
to discuss their situation and access support.
It is recognised that staff experiencing domestic or family violence may also disclose their experience to a trusted colleague or someone from outside their immediate work unit or an external support agency.


(8) All staff involved in supporting a staff member experiencing domestic or family violence must treat the matter as confidential. To protect the safety of others or as agreed with the staff member, supporting staff must not discuss the matter with other staff or people outside Deakin, other than the University's Safer Community Services, or unless there is a legal obligation to do so.

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 this policy and procedure to the attention of the affected staff member.

(10) Additional requirements apply to specific roles:

  1. Supervisors who have received a request for support from a staff member experiencing domestic or family violence must:
    1. act in accordance with their responsibilities under the Health, Wellbeing and Safety policy to manage operational health, wellbeing and safety matters and notify or directly engage with the University's Safer Community Services
    2. offer support to the affected staff member, as well as any affected colleagues, such as the Employee Assistance Program.
  2. Harassment and Discrimination Contact Officers, HR Client Partners or University health professionals must notify or directly engage with the University's Safer Community Services in order that they can provide appropriate support.
  3. The University Safer Community Services will work directly with the person and other areas of Deakin to coordinate the support provided to the staff member by Deakin.

(11) Staff members may request a support person to attend any meetings in relation to matters of domestic or family violence.

(12) Deakin will co-operate with all legal orders protecting staff experiencing domestic or family violence.

Types of support available to staff

(13) Safer Community Services, in consultation with other relevant areas of Deakin including the relevant HR Client Partner, will consider any request for support from a staff member experiencing domestic or family violence. Staff experiencing domestic or family violence may have access to a range of supporting measures, which may include:

  1. changes to hours of work
  2. changes to location of work
  3. changes to work phone numbers or work email addresses
  4. blocking of particular email contacts or telephone numbers
  5. protection of identity and privacy at work related activities
  6. changes to the staff member's contact details on Deakin directory
  7. assistance from Deakin Security while on campus or arriving or leaving from campus
  8. safety provisions for staff members attending work related activities (e.g. conferences)
  9. access to leave entitlements under the Deakin University Enterprise Agreement 2013, including personal and carer's leave, annual leave and long service leave in accordance with the Leave and Public Holidays Procedure
  10. access to special leave as outlined in clauses 39.9 and 39.10 of the Deakin University Enterprise Agreement 2013 and clauses 14-17 of this procedure
  11. access to leave without pay where all paid leave entitlements have been exhausted or where the staff member is a casual staff member
  12. the right to have a support colleague accompany them when attending any internal or external meetings dealing with matters or issues arising out of domestic or family violence, and
  13. other reasonable provisions determined on a case by case basis, such as advice, information and referrals to appropriate support agencies.

Special Leave

(14) A request for special leave can be submitted by the staff member via Safer Community or by contacting their HR Client Partner or HR Adviser.

(15) A request that is submitted via Safer Community or email to HR will by-pass the staff member's work area and go direct to a designated approver within Human Resources Division (HRD).

(16) The amount and timing of special leave will take into account the individual's situation and will be assessed and determined in consultation with the staff member, Safer Community Services, the staff member's supervisor and HRD. Casual staff members may be eligible for unpaid special leave.

(17) Special 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
  5. counselling or other related appointments.

Safety Plans

(18) When a staff member raises a concern regarding domestic or family violence, the University Safer Community Services, with input from the supervisor and the area's HR Client Partner, may be required to put in place strategies to ensure the safety of the staff member and others in the workplace.

(19) When developing a personal safety plan the following must be considered:

  1. the plan must have the staff member's consent
  2. it must be reviewed with the staff member on a regular basis (and may be adjusted at any time in consultation and by agreement with the staff member)
  3. the staff member's emergency contact details must be kept up to date
  4. all reasonable attempts should be made to ensure staff maintain their normal working hours and working conditions
  5. Compliance with legal orders (e.g. Intervention or Personal Safety Orders)
  6. The plan may require consultation with other areas within the University such as Security and eSolutions, which will be coordinated by Safer Community Services on a confidential basis, and
  7. Action to be taken if the staff member does not arrive at work.

(20) If a person breaches a court order by coming into the workplace or disrupts the workplace, the staff member's supervisor must:

  1. Initiate the University's emergency response procedures by contacting security by dialing 222 and requesting assistance and immediate police attendance if necessary;
  2. Contact Safer Community Services and HRD
  3. Document any incident as soon as possible (Incident Form to be lodged with HRD)
  4. Refer any staff members involved in or witnessing the incident to the University's Employee Assistance Program.

(21) In the case where a reported domestic violence situation is occurring between two members of the University community, Deakin will make reasonable changes necessary to support and maintain the safety of both parties.

(22) When applying for support under this procedure, including for special leave, proof of domestic or family violence may be required by Safer Community Services and/or HRD. Evidence 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. a statutory declaration from the staff member.

Record keeping

(23) 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 domestic or family violence must be kept confidential and not be placed on their personnel file.

Responsibility of supervisors

(24) Supervisors are responsible for:

  1. Offering support to staff members who may require assistance as a result of experiencing the effects of domestic or family violence
  2. Providing advice to staff members about the University's Employee Assistance Program
  3. Seeking advice as necessary from specialist staff such as the University's Safer Community Services and working with HRD
  4. Being familiar with processes to support people who may be experiencing domestic or family violence and participating in relevant training provided by the University, and
  5. Ensuring all personal information concerning the staff member's circumstances and application is used solely for the purpose of assessing the staff member's needs and determining and applying the appropriate support mechanisms and is otherwise kept confidential.
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Section 6 - Definitions

(25) For the purpose of this Procedure:

  1. Domestic or family violence: is defined in the Domestic and Family Violence (Staff and Student Support) Policy.
  2. Safer Community Services: is an in-house University service that acts as the central point of enquiry for information, advice and support in managing problem behaviours affecting staff or students that have, or could, cause offence, fear or trauma (physical and or psychological).