DV and how you can help

What can I do if an employee tells me about their DV issue? Unfortunately, there may be times in your management career when you have to deal with issues you’d sooner have not exist at all. Domestic Violence and the effect on those it is perpetrated against (including the impact in the workplace) is one such issue. 

Now, my own personal opinion for those who inflict DV on their loved ones, is that they should receive a punishment that may be seen as counterproductive to the cause! So instead of banging on with my own opinion I will instead give you some practical tips on how to best help an employee who comes to you with this type of issue. 

Much of the information you get from an employee regarding this type of situation will depend on trust, so confidentiality is key. With this being said, my first tip is to understand what the employee would like you to help with, is it just to unload, do they want you to support them to make a complaint, is there a threat to them while they are in the workplace, and do they want others to be aware that there is a problem?

  1. Be supportive and listen no matter your own personal opinion of the situation. 
  2. Control who can come in and out of your workplace and if necessary, have a register of persons who are not allowed access that all relevant staff are aware of. This will involve the employee currently experiencing DV being willing for information to be shared to an extent.  
  3. Don’t share the whereabouts of an employee with anyone except those in the workplace. Put simply, when someone calls to enquire as to the whereabouts of an employee who is away from work do not say “no that person is not here” or “no they are at home today”. Instead, advise that they can’t make it to the phone at this time and that you will take a message. Of course, you should gauge the urgency of such calls and ensure that genuine enquiries are answered. 
  4. Don’t put the employee in situations where they are left alone in the office or have to walk to their car after hours in the dark. Operationally this may be a difficult task and will obviously require some assistance from the employee and their colleagues, but if there is a real threat to that employee, then do what you can to ensure their safety. 
  5. Be open to considering leave applications or a flexible approach to a potential period of disrupted attendance and reliability.  DV leave is not yet legislated, but it is not far off, so there are no written guidelines around what this must look like.  But taking the approach of supporting another human being going through a difficult time should steer you in the right direction.

It is important that we are aware that someone experiencing DV isn’t just affected at home – there is also a flow on into the workplace. The trust relationships you build with your employees and your ability to positively manage situations of this nature can positively affect outcomes in such situations and ultimately, benefit everyone. 

As always if you are looking for assistance in the practical management of employees in situations like this or any other situation that can be thrown your way, then please don’t hesitate to contact the office and talk to one of our consultants.