Employers have a duty of care to provide a working environment that is safe and without risks to physical and mental health for all workers.
The physical safety, security and health and wellbeing of the specialist family violence workforce is essential for supporting sustainability. Organisations must be proactive in preventing and minimising the adverse effects of working in the context of violence and social injustice.
This means implementing:
- trauma-informed health and wellbeing strategies
- regular supervision with suitably qualified senior leaders and managers
- reflective practice that uses a trauma and violence-informed approach tailored to the context of responding to violence and oppression
- informal debriefing and fostering a workplace culture of hope, resilience, activism and raising ideas to progress change.
(The Code of Practice: Principles and Standards for Specialist Family Violence Services for Victim Survivors, 2020)
Services should have policies and procedures in place to:
- support practitioner safety in everyday practice
- document and debrief reportable and critical incidents
- address concerns about misconduct, bullying and service quality.
Given the high prevalence of family violence across the community, it is inevitable that the workforce includes people with their own past or current lived experiences of family violence. Enabling sustainability requires dedicated workplace policies that recognise this reality and include confidential support strategies and family violence leave provisions.
Health, Safety and Wellbeing Tool
The Safe and Equal Health Safety and Wellbeing Tool aims to support the family violence and sexual assault response sectors in identifying existing strengths and areas for improvement in relation to workplace health, safety and wellbeing. The Tool is designed be used as a self-assessment mechanism to benchmark the different areas within an organisation.
The accompanying Handbook contains relevant supporting information to strengthen and substantiate the elements and questions within the Tool. Optional reflective exercises, which can be used to assist the self-assessment process, can also be found within the Handbook.