Workplace environments that are safe, inclusive of women, and receptive to the burden and hardship of family violence are critical to reinforcing the social norms of respect, non-violence and equity.
The Victorian Government is committed to creating a culture that supports respectful relationships, practices positive attitudes and behaviours and promotes a culture of non-violence in all workplaces, including the Victorian public sector. The Government is also committed to supporting all public sector employers to develop and maintain workplaces that are supportive of victims of family violence.
The Department of Education and Training (the Department) has a role in, and responsibility for, responding to family violence. This policy sets out the support that is available both for employees who experience family violence and for employees who may be supporting a person experiencing family violence, and has been developed based on the family violence leave provisions in the Victorian Government Schools Agreement 2022, the Victorian Public Service Enterprise Agreement 2020.
Victoria’s Family Violence Protection Act 2008 defines family violence as behaviours towards a family member including physical, sexual, financial, verbal, emotional and psychological abuse and behaviour that is threatening or coercive. It also includes any of these behaviours where a child may hear or witness, or otherwise be exposed to, the effects of these behaviours.
Consequently, family violence may occur between intimate partners or ex partners, including those in same sex relationships, between siblings, by adolescent or adult children and their parent(s), or between extended family members, or by people in a family-like relationship such as a person providing ongoing support or caring activities.
A central element of family violence is behaviour aimed at power and control through fear. Family violence takes a number of forms, including physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, psychological, emotional and social abuse and economic deprivation.
This Policy is aimed at ensuring an employee experiencing violence or abuse in their family life, is supported and to allow them to be absent from the workplace to attend counselling appointments, legal proceedings and other activities related to, and as a consequence of, family violence.
Supporting employees experiencing family violence through promoting a culture free from all forms of violence, demonstrates the Department’s commitment to the value of human rights and assists in retaining valued employees.
The Policy also recognises the need for principals and managers to be sensitive to an employee experiencing family violence and to be considerate of the impact this may be having on their work, including actual or potential attendance or performance issues. No adverse action will be taken in relation to an employee where their attendance or performance at work suffers as a result of that employee experiencing family violence.
The Department is committed to the privacy of employees, however, recognises that in certain circumstances there are legal obligations to report acts or threats of family violence to external bodies. Further information can be found in the chapter of this Policy.
Reviewed 07 September 2022