Quick guide: Talking to people at work about domestic and family violence

  • Approach any discussion with sensitivity, without judgement, and in a private location.
  • Inform employees that your organisation recognises that DFV can impact work and that it is safe to discuss safety or other concerns at work, including in a work from home context.
  • Assure the employee that you will respect their wishes and keep the matter confidential as far as possible with the exception being any serious workplace health and safety concerns.
  • Assure them they are not to blame, and validate the disclosure (recognising this may be painful or embarrassing).
  • Keep the focus on the impact the abuse is having on their work life and discuss a support strategy including things the workplace can do to assist.
  • Collaborate with the employee and their representative in making assessments about their safety and in determining which strategies are best to implement.
  • Avoid giving advice (except about workplace entitlements or policies) and explain the limitations of your role.
  • Don’t become personally involved; rather be helpful with communication, information and support.
  • Try to keep the focus of the conversation related to the workplace but ensure the person is getting support around safety outside the workplace by referring them to a specialist DFV service.
  • Take time to explore any concerns about work safety or perpetrator contact at work, including in a work from home context, and discuss the safety measures that might assist.
  • Provide useful information such as referrals to legal and DFV services, EAP providers or to state or national telephone assistance services (such as 1800 RESPECT).
  • Take care of yourself and take advantage of workplace supports such as EAP if you feel stressed or impacted by the situation at work.
  • Encourage your workplace to display and promote material that takes a stance against DFV.
  • Keep records of discussions or interviews in a secure place separate from employee records.
  • Seek assistance from people at work who may be more experienced than you in this area, and from specialist DFV services.
  • Understand the impact that trauma can have on people who experience DFV and that they may not always be able to clearly discuss or recall facts about their situation with you.

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