Not now, not ever, not OK
DET has implemented some important and much needed resources and policies to support employees who are experiencing domestic and family violence (DFV).
Responding to a suite of recommendations from the Not Now, Not Ever report, some powerful measures have been in place to support employees. It is really important that members are aware of what support is available and for decision makers and principals to enact these measures in schools.
Domestic and family violence training is being rolled out statewide for DET principals, managers and HR staff; the two and a half hour PD is being presented by Australia’s CEO Challenge.
Special paid leave for DFV has been available for DET employees since 2012, however guidelines and operational procedures for accessing it were initially unclear.
The Special Leave FAQ and Guidelines for Decision Makers documents provide some great clarification. Additionally, three new documents have been produced by DET. I urge all school administrators and QTU Reps to familiarise themselves with these documents, which are available on OnePortal.
Supporting staff affected by domestic and family violence policy – this document outlines the strong and clear commitment the department has to “providing a healthy, safe and supportive working and learning environment for all departmental staff”. Importantly, it provides guidance around confidentiality and disclosure, awareness-raising and support (including paid leave, flexible work options, documentation, transfer and relocations, and counselling and support services). It also includes information on rehabilitation support, housing, work performance and safety in the workforce, and student safety. It is a comprehensive document that all principals need to be aware of. Additionally, and in the view of the QTU, very reasonably, there is no requirement for people experiencing DFV to provide proof.
Domestic and family violence workplace safety checklist – this document highlights workplace safety considerations that principals and managers can use collaboratively with employees experiencing DFV to work out a safety plan. It includes suggestions for possible actions to support employee safety at work and personal employee considerations. This document is a really valuable resource to support principals and managers in working through this process with affected employees.
Domestic and family violence workplace safety plan - this document can be used to assist employees and managers/school administrators work through the details and considerations that need to be in place to help assess the risk at work, and any support that they specifically need and workplace adjustments that are required.
Underpinning this departmental and government support have been some really strong legislative changes and measures. They are leading the way nationally and have included access to paid domestic and family violence leave as part of the Queensland Employment Standards in the Queensland Industrial Relations Act 2016. Additionally, new laws have been passed unanimously through the Queensland Parliament ensuring that victims of domestic and family violence will be informed if their perpetrator is released on bail or from prison.
May is Domestic Violence Prevention Month, an annual event raising community awareness of DFV and sending a clear message that DFV is never OK, and will not be tolerated. Information can be found at www.qld.gov.au/community/your-home-community/domestic-family-violence-prevention/
A really powerful initiative included in the government’s response to the Not Now, Not Ever recommendations was the introduction of the Respectful Relationships program. When introduced in February last year, Minister Jones indicated that the curriculum program “will give students opportunities to improve their self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationships, ethics, values, knowledge of social norms, stereotypes, human rights, and risk, as well as responsible decision-making”.
QTU Reps and members needing to access further information on DFV leave and workplace information can contact QTAD 1300 11 7823.
If you are affected by DFV, further support and information is available through:
Employee Assistance Provider, Optum Ph: 1800 604 640
Specialist Domestic Violence services such as DVConnect, DVConnect Womensline: Ph: 1800 811 811 (24/7)
DVConnect Mensline Ph: 1800 600 636 (9am – 12 midnight, 7 days)
DVConnect Sexual Assault Line Ph: 1800 010 120 (7.30am – 11.30pm, 7 days)
1800RESPECT - National sexual assault, domestic family violence counselling service Ph: 1800 737 732 (24/7)
Penny Spalding Assistant Secretary - Women's and Social Welfare Issues
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 122 No 3, 14 April 2017, p27
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