Family and Domestic Violence

Document Currently Under Review

Current Status: Approved and Published 7 September 2017

Family and Domestic Violence Procedure

Policy Code: HR1985

Purpose

The purpose of this procedure is to provide guidance to University staff and students on the support mechanisms available at Federation University Australia for those impacted by family or domestic violence. 

The procedure supports the associated policy which outlines the University’s commitment to supporting staff and students who are targets of family or domestic violence.  The procedure aims to provide processes, support structures and guidance to ensure a safe and supportive work and learning environment with zero tolerance of violence in any form and against any gender and where:

  • staff and students experiencing family or domestic violence are not disadvantaged or discriminated against for disclosing their situation;
  • necessary reasonable adjustments are made to provide support in work and/or study for staff and students to feel safe and to remain employed or enrolled in study; and
  • guidance and assistance is provided to all levels of management and employees on how to identify, respond and refer staff members or students experiencing family or domestic violence to the appropriate support networks either within or outside the University.

The policy also aims to provide guidance and support to subjects of family or domestic violence.

Scope

This procedure applies to all staff, students and other members of the University.

Legislative Context

  • Family Violence Protection Act 2008 (Victoria)
  • Fair Work Act 2009

Definitions

Term Definition
Casual/sessional staff A staff member who is engaged by the hour and paid on an hourly basis. Payment will include a loading related to specific benefits to which the staff member has no entitlements i.e. sick leave, annual leave etc.
Family and domestic violence When one person in a relationship uses violence and abuse to maintain power and control over the other person. This can include behaviour that is physically, sexually, emotionally, psychologically or economically abusive, threatening, coercive or aimed at controlling or dominating the other person through fear.
Staff member A person who holds a contract of employment with the University.
Student A person who is enrolled to study or research at the University
Supervisor A staff member of the University who is responsible for the supervision of staff.
Target The person or persons who is/are experiencing family violence towards them.
Subject A person who exhibits behaviours of concern, For the purpose of this policy, the behaviours of concern include all types of family or domestic violence towards a target(s).
Personal Safety Plan A plan to identify personal safety strategies while working or studying.
Family Violence Support Services: An agency or staff member of an agency that assists targets or subjects of family violence.  Services may be provided by agencies external to the University.
Program or Course Coordinator A staff member of the University who is responsible for the coordination of the preparation, delivery and assessment in a course.

Actions

Staff members and students experiencing family or domestic violence are encouraged to seek support from the University. Subjects of family or domestic violence are encouraged to seek advice and support.

The Federation University Security Policy and Security Procedure place responsibility on the University Manager, Risk, Health and Safety to provide advice regarding personal safety and security, the assessment of security risks, to implement and ensure that appropriate security management processes are put in place and regularly reviewed.  Staff members or student who become aware that a member of the University community is at risk of violence whilst working, studying or residing at the University should contact the Manager, Risk, Health and Safety for further advice regarding measures that can be considered to ensure personal safety.

Requesting Support

1. Requesting Support – Staff Members (including targets and subjects)

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY ACTIONS
A. Disclosing family and domestic violence situations and requesting support. Staff member

Staff members may choose to disclose the details of their situation and request support and guidance from:

  • a family violence support service;
  • their supervisor;
  • Human Resources;
  • Federation University Manager, Risk, Health and Safety;
  • the University Health Centre;
  • the Equity and Equal Opportunity Office;
  • a health and safety representative;
  • the University’s Employee Assistance Program; or
  • a colleague.

If a staff member chooses to disclose their family or domestic violence situation to a colleague, the colleague can accompany and assist the staff member to report or notify a more appropriate source but must not attempt to resolve the matter.

Staff members experiencing family or domestic violence should also be made aware of the supports available from the University’s Manager, Risk, Health and Safety. 

Staff members who disclose they are subjects in their family or domestic violence situation should be made aware of available external support agencies and programs.

  Confidentiality and Privacy Staff member and Supervisor All Information disclosed by a staff member must be kept ‘strictly confidential’ with the staff member’s privacy respected except to the extent that disclosure is required or permitted by law pursuant to the University’s Information Privacy Policy.
B. Accessing Domestic Violence Leave Staff member and supervisor

Staff members experiencing family or domestic violence should be made aware of the specific domestic violence leave provisions in the Federation University Union Collective Agreement including flexible work arrangement options and other relevant leave entitlements available to them in order to address and manage their situation.

Staff members covered by the Victorian TAFE Teaching Staff Multi-Business Agreement 2009 may access the Special Leave provisions subject to the provision of appropriate documentation.

Casual staff who are experiencing family or domestic violence may be entitled to paid leave to attend to medical appointments, legal proceedings, to seek safe housing and other activities linked to dealing with family or domestic violence.  Paid leave for casual staff would be up to the equivalent paid leave that provided to continuing and fixed-term staff. 

Casual staff may request to be paid for time they have been unable to attend a rostered day of work because of the requirement to attend to family or domestic violence matters.  Supervisors should discuss requests for paid leave from casual staff with the Director, Human Resources.  Approval for the payment of family and domestic violence leave to a casual staff member will be at the discretion of the Director, Human Resources. 

Some of the leave options chosen may require the staff member to provide relevant documentary evidence which may include but are not limited to a document issued by the police or a court, a medical practitioner, a district or maternal and child health care nurse, a family violence support service, a lawyer or be required to provide a statutory declaration.

C. Convictions for Family Violence offences Staff member and Supervisor Should a staff member be convicted of a family or domestic violence matter and where this may have an impact on their employment they are required to notify Human Resources within five days of the conviction occurring.

2. Requesting Support – Students (including targets and subjects)

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY ACTIONS
A. Disclosing family and domestic violence situations and requesting support. Students

Students may choose to disclose the details of their situation and request support, guidance and assistance from

  • a family violence support service;
  • their course coordinator/program coordinator/research supervisor;
  • University student counsellor or Student Advisory Service;
  • a fellow student;
  • the University Health Centre;
  • the Federation University Manager, Risk, Health and Safety;
  • the Equity and Equal Opportunity Office; or
  • a health and safety representative.

If a student chooses to disclose their family or domestic violence situation to a fellow student, the fellow student can accompany and assist the student to report or notify a more appropriate source but must not attempt to resolve the matter.

B. Confidentiality and Privacy Staff who interface with Students All Information disclosed by a student must be kept ‘strictly confidential’ with the student’s privacy respected except to the extent that disclosure is required or permitted by law pursuant to the University’s Information Privacy Policy.
C. Accessing study and other supports Students and Course or Program coordinators/Research Supervisors/Student Councilors/Student Advisory Service/Student Health Centre/Manager, Risk, Health and Safety/Equity and Equal Opportunity Office/Health and safety representative.

Students experiencing family violence should be made aware of available study support and flexibility options provided by the University to assist them to continue with their studies.

To access the study support and/or other flexible options, students may be required to provide relevant documentary evidence which may include but are not limited to document/s issued by police, a court, a medical practitioner, a district or maternal and child health care nurse, a family violence support service, a lawyer or be required to provide a statutory declaration.

Students should also be made aware of the supports available from the University’s Manager, Risk, Health and Safety.  Subjects who disclose their family or domestic violence situation should be made aware of available external support agencies and programs.

D. Convictions for Family Violence offences

Students and Course/Program Coordinators/

Research Supervisors

Should a student be convicted of a family or domestic violence matter and where this may have an impact on their studies they are required to notify their Course or Program Coordinator/Research Supervisor within five days of the conviction occurring.

Course or Program Coordinator/Research Supervisors are required to take appropriate steps, in accordance with relevant University regulations, policies and procedures.

Providing Support

1. Providing Support – Staff Members (including targets and subjects)

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY ACTIONS
A. Requests for support Faculties/Directorates and Supervisors

Faculties/Directorates

Faculties and Directorate staff who have received a report or a request for assistance in a family or domestic violence matter must ensure they act promptly, with sensitivity and respect for the privacy of the affected staff member or student and refer the matter to the most appropriate person with the agreement of the affected staff member or student.

Supervisors

If a supervisor has been made aware of a family or domestic violence matter they must act promptly with sensitivity and respect for the privacy of the affected staff member (either target or subject).

The supervisor is to first seek advice from Human Resources on how to best support the staff member when an issue of family violence has been raised.  Once advice has been provided, the supervisor can action the advice and implement internal or external support in consultation with the staff member.

The supervisor is expected to:

  • follow the advice and recommendations provided by Human Resources and/or the University Manager, Risk, Health and Safety;
  • provide information and recommend the affected staff member to the University’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP);
  • offer a referral to the University’s Manager, Risk, Health and Safety (for targets);
  • outline the specific domestic violence leave provisions in the Union Collective Agreement (in the case of Academic and General staff) and relevant flexible work arrangement options and leave entitlements available to the affected staff member (for targets) or other leave provisions if the staff member is a TAFE Teacher; and
  • approve or seek further approvals for relevant leave applications;
  • maintain confidentiality as much as practicable so that it is limited only to persons and agencies directly involved in assisting or supporting the affected staff member.

With the staff member’s permission, a supervisor can offer to make contact with the EAP on behalf of the affected staff member to arrange an initial appointment.

All Information disclosed by an affected staff member must be kept ‘strictly confidential’ with the staff member’s privacy respected except to the extent that disclosure is required or permitted by law pursuant to the University’s Information Privacy Policy.

All supervisors will be expected to participate in information or training sessions conducted by the University on dealing with family or domestic violence.

2. Providing Support – Students (including targets and subjects)

  ACTIVITY RESPONSIBILITY ACTIONS
A. Requests for support Staff who interface with Students

University staff who interface with students and have been made aware of a family or domestic violence matter (either target or subject) affecting a student must ensure they act promptly with sensitivity and respect for the privacy of the affected student.

The staff member is to first seek advice from the Student Health and Wellbeing work unit on how to best support the affected student.  Once advice has been provided, the staff member can action the advice implementing internal or external support in consultation with the student.

The staff member is expected to:

  • follow the advice and recommendations provided by the Health and Well-being work unit;
  • implement available University support mechanisms in consultation with the student and the Health and Well-being work unit;
  • provide advice on support mechanisms available from the University including study support and flexibility options; and
  • maintain confidentiality as much as practicable so that it is limited only to persons and agencies directly involved in assisting or supporting the affected student.

All Information disclosed by an affected student must be kept ‘strictly confidential’ with the student’s privacy respected except to the extent that disclosure is required or permitted by law pursuant to the University’s Information Privacy Policy or other relevant legislation.

All staff required to interface with students will be expected to participate in information or training sessions conducted by the University on dealing with family or domestic violence.

Responsibility

  • The Chief Operating Officer (as the Approval Authority) as nominee of the Vice-Chancellor has overall responsibility for the implementation and review of this Policy.
  • The Director, Human Resources (for staff and other members of the University) and the Director, Student Connect (for students) is responsible for monitoring the implementation, outcomes and scheduled review of this policy and its accompanying procedure/s.
  • The White Ribbon Steering Committee is responsible for administering and maintaining the content of this policy as delegated by the Vice-Chancellor.

Promulgation

The Family and Domestic Violence Procedure will be communicated throughout the University community in the form of:

  1. An Announcement Notice via FedNews and on the FedUni Policy Central’s Policy Library ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page to alert the University-wide community of the approved Policy;
  2. Distribution of e-mails to Executive Deans/Executive Directors/Directors, Heads of School/University staff; and/or
  3. Documentation distribution, eg. posters, brochures
  4. Notification to Faculties
  5. Federation University Australia Staff website http://federation.edu.au/staff/working-at-feduni/white-ribbon

Implementation

The Family and Domestic Violence Procedure will be implemented throughout the University via:

  1. an Announcement Notice via FedNews and on the FedUni Policy Central’s Policy Library ‘Recently Approved Documents’ page to alert the University-wide community of the approved Policy;
  2. Staff induction sessions
  3. Training sessions
  4. University events and activities.

Records Management

Document Title Location Responsible Officer Minimum Retention Period
Staff leave requests Human Resources Employee Self-Service System Human Resources 50 years.
Special consideration requests from Students Student HQ Student HQ 7 Year
Personal Protection Plans Security Office (and Human Resources for staff members) Manager, Risk, Health and Safety 7 Years