Family and Domestic Violence

Family and Domestic Violence Policy

Policy Code: HR1984

Purpose

The purpose of this policy 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.

Scope

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

Students of partner providers are encouraged to contact their institution about accessing support services.

Legislative Context

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

Definitions

Term Definition
Domestic violence: Refers to acts of violence that occur between people who have, or have had, an intimate relationship in domestic settings. These acts include physical, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse. A central element of domestic violence is that of an ongoing pattern of behaviour aimed at exercising power and control over one’s partner/former partner through fear (for example, by using violent or threatening behaviour) and can be both criminal and non-criminal in nature.
Family violence: Refers to violence between family members, which can include violence between current or former intimate partners, as well as acts of violence between a parent and a child, between siblings, and more.  Family violence encompasses extended family and kinship relationships in which violence may occur.
Family and domestic violence support services: An agency or staff member of an agency that assists targets or subjects of family and domestic 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.
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 or domestic violence towards them.
Transgressor: A person who exhibits behaviours of concern towards a target or targets that meet the definitions of family or domestic violence.
Treating health practitioner: A person registered to practice in the medical profession in accordance with Australian laws and regulations.
University support services: Services offered to either staff members or students aimed at supporting their wellbeing and welfare while they are a member of the University community.

Policy Statement

Confidentiality and Privacy

The Federation University Australia is committed to promoting and supporting the health and safety of staff and students.  The University recognises that staff and students will be among those affected by family and domestic violence and that the impact of such violence is not restricted to private life but can extend to the work or study environment.

The Family and Domestic Violence Policy and its associated procedure outlines the University’s commitment to supporting staff and students who are affected by family or domestic violence.

The University commits to:

  • Creating a safe and supportive work and study environment that has zero tolerance of violence in any form;
  • Creating a work and study environment where staff and students experiencing family or domestic violence feel safe and supported and not disadvantaged or discriminated against for disclosing family and domestic violence;
  • Providing the necessary reasonable adjustments to staff members and students who are experiencing family or domestic violence to support them in work and/or study to feel safe and to remain employed or enrolled in study;
  • Educating all levels of management and employees on how to identify, respond and refer staff members or students who are experiencing family and violence to the appropriate support either within or outside the University; and
  • Ensuring that a consistent approach, and levels of protection are made available to members of the University community who are affected by family or domestic violence.

The University also commits to provide guidance and support to subjects of family or domestic violence.

The University recognises that staff members and students have the right to choose whether, when and to whom they disclose details of their personal circumstances in relation to family or domestic violence and whether or not they wish to make a formal report to police. They may wish to disclose details to their supervisor, People and Culture, a workplace health and safety representative, their program or course coordinator, or someone with whom they feel comfortable. Information disclosed by an employee in relation to family or domestic violence will be kept confidential except to the extent that disclosure is required or permitted by law pursuant to the University’s Information Privacy Policy.

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, People and Culture (for staff and other members of the University) and the Student Advocacy Service (for students) is responsible for monitoring the implementation, outcomes and scheduled review of this policy and its accompanying procedure/s.

For staff members affected by family or domestic violence (including targets and transgressors):

Staff members should consider:

  • Electing whether to request support and assistance from:
    • a family and domestic violence support service;
    • a treating health practitioner;
    • the Manager, Risk Health and Safety;
    • their supervisor;
    • People and Culture;
    • a colleague;
    • the Manager, Diversity and Inclusion;
    • a health and safety representative; or
    • the University’s Employee Assistance Program.
  • Utilising available leave and flexible work options to support them.
  • When required, providing relevant documentary evidence of their circumstances, which may include a document issued by police, a court, a medical practitioner, a district or maternal and child health care nurse, a family and domestic violence support service, or a lawyer or a statutory declaration.

For students affected by family or domestic violence (including targets and transgressors):

Students should consider:

  • Electing whether to request support and assistance from:
    • a family and domestic violence support service;
    • their course coordinator/program coordinator/research supervisor;
    • student counsellor or student advocacy service,
    • a fellow student;
    • treating health practitioner;
    • the Manager, Health, Safety and Wellbeing;
    • the Student Equity and Inclusion Office; or
    • a health and safety representative.
  • Utilising available study support options provided by the University..
  • When required, providing relevant documentary evidence of their circumstances, which may include a document issued by police, a court, a medical practitioner, a district or maternal and child health care nurse, a family violence support service, or a lawyer or a statutory declaration.

Supervisors or staff members receiving reports of family violence from another staff member

Supervisors or staff members who receive reports of family or domestic violence from a staff member/colleague must ensure they act promptly and with sensitivity.   A supervisor or staff member who becomes aware of a staff member/colleague who is at risk of violence while working at the University should contact the Manager, Health, Safety and Wellbeing for further advice regarding measures that can be considered to ensure safety of both the potential target and work colleagues.

Supervisors and staff members are responsible for:

  • Offering support to staff members who may require assistance as a result of family or domestic violence;
  • Seeking advice from People and Culture and/or the Manager, Health, Safety and Wellbeing on how to best support the staff member when an issue has been raised and to ensure safety of both the potential target and other students/staff members.
  • Implementing available internal support mechanisms in consultation with the staff member;
  • Providing advice on the University’s Employee Assistance Program and other external support services;
  • Maintaining the confidentiality of the staff member, where appropriate;
  • Approving the staff member’s leave applications; and
  • Participating in training on family and domestic violence issues and responses.

Staff receiving reports of family or domestic violence from a student:

School and Directorate staff who have received a report of family or domestic violence from a student must ensure they act promptly and with sensitivity.

School and Directorate staff who interface with students are responsible for:

  • Offering support to students who may require assistance as a result of family or domestic violence;
  • Seeking advice from Student Health and Wellbeing on how to best support the student when an issue of family violence has been raised;
  • Seeking advice from the Manager, Health, Safety and Wellbeing regarding measures that can be considered to ensure safety of both the potential target and other students/staff members.
  • Providing advice on study support mechanisms available from the University such as special consideration etc.
  • Recommending and implementing available University support mechanisms in consultation with the student;
  • Maintaining the confidentiality of the student, where appropriate; and
  • Participating in training on family violence issues and response.

Promulgation

The Family and Domestic Violence Policy will be communicated 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. distribution of e-mails to Deans/Executive Directors/Directors, Heads of School/University staff; and/or
  3. documentation distribution, eg. posters, brochures;
  4. Notification to Schools/Directorates/Sections of the University; and
  5. Federation University Australia Staff Family and domestic violence web page.

Implementation

The Family and Domestic Violence Policy 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.