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How to Support an Employee Who Receives a Family and Domestic Violence Disclosure from a Work Colleague 

Key takeaways 

  1. Make your employees aware of support services they can share or use themselves.
  2. Make sure they understand their responsibilities, including the need for confidentiality.
  3. Where possible, provide all staff with information and training on how to respond to a disclosure of family and domestic violence.

Work colleagues and friends can often be the first people that employees experiencing family and domestic violence talk to about what is happening for them.  

It can be hard to know how to respond. 

It can also be upsetting to hear about family and domestic violence experiences from colleagues, even those who are close friends, especially if they have their own lived experience of family and domestic violence. 

It is important that you support your employees so that they know what to do if someone makes a disclosure to them.   

Here are some good ways to support your employees 

  • Provide them with information and training on how to respond to a family and domestic violence disclosure.  
  • You can find information that you can provide to your employees about how to respond if someone makes a disclosure to them here.    
  • Training programs include DV Alert
  • Victim-survivor advocates can be a practical and powerful way of raising awareness about family and domestic violence, and providing the necessary skills to your employees. Make sure they know about their responsibilities in these situations. 
  • Remind them that they must ensure confidentiality regarding any disclosure they have received: 
    • They should not share any information they have heard with anyone inside or outside the organisation, without the permission of the employee who made the disclosure.  
    • If there are safety implications, or intervention orders that should be taken into account, then they should encourage the individual to seek assistance or advice.
  • Make sure they know how to access professional and specialised support through: 
    • internal supports  
    • 1800RESPECT.
  • If they are feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed by the experiences they have heard about, allow them to take a form of leave (such as personal leave) and make sure they are aware of any flexible work options. 

1800RESPECT (national domestic, family and sexual violence counselling, information and support service) 1800 737 732.

Call 000 in an emergency .

View referral and support pathways.

For further advice on family and domestic violence see 1800RESPECT or call 1800 737 732.

For further advice about your workplace rights or information about how to deal with workplace disputes, refer to the Fair Work Ombudsman or call 13 13 94.