Organisational actions to prevent Domestic and Family Violence
[Patty Kinnersly: Chief Executive Officer, Our Watch]
Workplaces need to start right from the top. So that’s the boards and the CEOs agreeing that this an issue that is their issue and that they will take seriously. And then there’s a list of practical actions that can run through the whole organisation. So we need to understand what the circumstance in the organisation is, so that could be a survey for the staff to really get a grip on how they’re feeling about this. It’s certainly a review of your policy and procedures to make sure that, inadvertently, that there aren’t things that stop women from being equal in the workplace. It’s also developing an action plan so that every part of the organisation understands their role and responsibility. First and foremost, women must be safe in your organisation so, when we say, “our organisation is safe” that survey is really important to say, “well I’m safe coming to work but actually in the staff room the sexist jokes make me feel unsafe”. So, we really need to unearth what the reality is and then set an action plan around that. Your HR people, if you’re lucky enough to have them, need to be really well versed in this work and to understand what it looks like and what supports people need. In every part of the organisation there needs to be a visible and accountable action plan. Somebody needs to be in charge of it because we know if somebody’s not holding the work it won’t go anywhere and it needs to be supported from the top.
[Jan Breckenridge: Professor and Head of School of Social Sciences
Co-Convenor of Gendered Violence Research Network
University of NSW, Sydney]
The organisational leadership has to have a genuine, true commitment so that all employees can see that the organisation believes that domestic and family violence is wrong, shouldn’t happen and that we have a responsibility as an organisation to respond productively and to help people stay in their employment. That can be achieved in many ways, but it should be part of a purpose statement. There should be events usually linked with equity and diversity and inclusion units so it’s part of a whole organisation response to different circumstances that employees might require the organisation to manage or constructively respond to. I think, once you’ve done that, the next most obvious step is policy. You need to have a policy and you need to have a policy that steps out really clearly what the organisation commitment is, is there a first response network, how do people disclose, what happens when they disclose, what the organisation may or may not do in response to certain behaviours. The response framework is almost like a concurrent strategy that you would take where you have to have people within an organisation that feel confident, comfortable and are trained to accept disclosure.