Policy Corporate Governance Domestic and Family Violence (Staff Support) Procedure

Domestic and Family Violence (Staff Support) Procedure

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This Procedure provides guidance to staff on the support mechanisms available at James Cook University (JCU) for those impacted by domestic or family violence. It outlines the processes and support structures at JCU that will ensure a safe and supportive work and learning environment free from violence in any form and against any person and where:

  • staff experiencing domestic or family violence are not disadvantaged or discriminated against for disclosing their situation;
  • reasonable adjustments are made to provide support in the workplace for staff to feel safe and to remain employed; and
  • guidance and assistance is provided at all levels of management on how to identify, respond and refer staff members experiencing domestic or family violence to the appropriate support networks either within or outside the University.


This Procedure applies to all staff of James Cook University employed under the current JCU Enterprise Agreement that is in effect at the time of this Procedure being applied.


Except as otherwise specified in the Domestic and Family Violence Policy, the meaning of terms used are as per the Policy Glossary.

Support Person

A support person is a person to assist, accompany and support staff member in their participation in matters relating to this procedure.  A support person may be a friend or family member of a Staff member, or delegate or Staff member of a union that is a party to the JCU Enterprise Agreement; and not a practicing solicitor or barrister.


1. JCU’s Commitment

1.1  This Procedure ensures that staff who experience, or are affected by, domestic or family violence are responded to appropriately, quickly, positively and in confidence.

1.2  The University recognises that it is important to make staff aware of domestic and family violence, and to ensure all Staff are equipped with appropriate support, knowledge and skills to respond appropriately. Information on what domestic and family violence is and how to support someone who may be experiencing domestic and family violence can be accessed on the DV Connect website.

1.3  The University will co-operate with all Police/Legal orders protecting staff experiencing domestic or family violence.

1.4  In the case where there are cross-reports of domestic or family violence involving two members of the University community, the University will make the reasonable changes necessary to support and maintain the safety of both parties.

1.5  The University will not tolerate the misuse University resources to engage in behaviour that threatens, harasses, victimises or abuses another person. If a staff member is observed, or suspected of, perpetrating domestic or family violence in, or from, the workplace or learning environment, this needs to be reported to the Director, Human Resources.

2.   Staff Obligations

2.1  Staff have an obligation to comply with JCU’s Human Resources and Work Health and Safety policies, procedures and guidelines, including, and not limited to the: Domestic and Family Violence Policy; Information Privacy Policy; Work Health and Safety Risk Management Procedure; Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy and the Health Management Procedure. In addition, all staff have an obligation to conduct themselves in accordance with the University's Code of Conduct. Staff found to have breached such obligations in, or from, the workplace or learning environment, may be subject to the University's disciplinary procedures.

3. Requesting Support

3.1  Staff experiencing domestic or family violence can elect to contact the following persons to discuss their situation and access support:

3.1.1 their supervisor;

3.1.2 an Equity Contact Officer;

3.1.3 their HR Business Partner, or

3.1.4 Manager, Campus Safety and Security.

3.2  It is recognised that staff experiencing domestic or family violence may also disclose their experience to a trusted colleague or someone from outside their immediate work unit or an external support agency.

3.3  Staff may request a support person to attend any meetings within JCU in relation to matters of domestic or family violence.

4. Confidentiality

4.1  All staff involved in supporting a staff member experiencing domestic and family violence must treat the matter as confidential. To protect the safety of others or as agreed with the staff member, supporting staff must not discuss the matter with other staff or people outside the University, other than HR, or unless there is a legal obligation to do so.

4.2  A staff member who discloses that they are currently experiencing, or are affected by, domestic or family violence, or has previously experienced or has been affected by, domestic or family violence will be treated fairly in terms of their employment, career development, or when impacted as a result of that disclosure.

4.3  A staff member who raises genuine concerns about colleagues experiencing, or affected by, domestic or family violence will also be treated fairly and confidentially.

4.4  Any personal information that is collected or used or stored or accessed in the course of this Procedure must be done so in accordance with the Information Privacy Policy and Records Management Policy. No information is recorded on a staff member’s personnel file without the staff member’s express permission.

5. Responding to a Disclosure and Managing Requests for Support

5.1  Any individual at JCU receiving a disclosure by a staff member regarding domestic or family violence will:

5.1.1 respect the rights of the disclosing staff member to make their own decisions regarding their personal affairs and avoid judgement;

5.1.2 bring the Domestic and Family Violence Policy and this Procedure to the attention of the affected staff member; and

5.1.3 refer the person making the disclosure to their supervisor to offer support.

5.2  In addition to the above, Supervisors are responsible for:

5.2.1 offering support to staff as per clause 6 onwards of this Procedure;

5.2.2 providing advice to staff about JCU’s Employee Assistance Program;

5.2.3 seeking advice as necessary from their Divisional HR Business Partner;

5.2.4 being familiar with JCU’s policies and procedures supporting people who may be experiencing domestic or family violence and participating in any relevant training provided by the University, and

5.2.5 ensuring all personal information concerning the staff member's circumstances is used solely for the purpose of assessing the staff member's needs and determining and applying any appropriate support mechanisms; and is otherwise kept confidential as per clause 4.4.

Types of Support Available to Staff

6. Leave Arrangements

6.1  Staff who experience domestic or family violence may have access to the Domestic and Family Violence Leave provisions as per clause 36 of the 2016 JCU Enterprise Agreement. In addition, other leave arrangements (including, and not limited to Annual Leave, Long Service Leave and/or Personal and Carer’s Leave, where and as appropriate) as per the University’s Leave Procedure. Activities that may require leave of this type to be taken include:

6.1.1 attending medical/counselling appointments;

6.1.2 attending legal proceedings or seeking legal advice;

6.1.3 seeking safe housing;

6.1.4 organising alternate care or education arrangements for children or other people for whom the staff has carer responsibilities;

6.1.5 rebuilding support networks for children, family or others; and/or

6.1.6 any other activity relating to managing issues of domestic or family violence.

6.2  A staff member who supports a member of their immediate family or a member of their household experiencing domestic or family violence, may also take personal/carer's leave to provide necessary support such as accompanying the person to court or hospital, or to mind children.

7. Flexible Working Arrangements

7.1  A staff member experiencing domestic and family violence may also request flexible working arrangements, subject to genuine operational requirements. Flexible working arrangements may also be extended to staff required to provide care and support to a member of their immediate family or a member of their household experiencing, or affected by, domestic or family violence. Flexible working arrangements may include, but are not limited to, variations to ordinary hours or rosters; temporary changes to duties/responsibilities; and/or temporary changes to work location.

8. Additional measures

8.1  JCU recognises that perpetrators of domestic or family violence sometimes use workplace resources such as telephone, facsimile or email to threaten, harass or abuse a person being subjected to Domestic Violence. A staff member may also apply for supporting measures such as changes to their work email address, work telephone number, a block being implemented by JCU against specific external email/telephone numbers and changes to a staff members work contact details on JCU’s public website.

9. Supporting Documentation

9.1  To apply for flexible working arrangements and other support, a staff member may be required to provide supporting documentation such as:

9.1.1 a medical certificate or letter from a doctor;

9.1.2 a letter from a lawyer or a court document;

9.1.3 other relevant agency or counselling documentation (such as a family violence support service); or

9.1.4 a police report.

9.2  When considering any request for flexible working arrangements as a result of domestic or family violence, the University will take into account the staff member’s individual circumstances, their role at the University, their ability to perform their duties and the specific needs of the workplace.

10. JCU Campus Safety and Security

10.1 A staff member may apply for assistance from JCU Campus Safety and Security Staff, while on Campus or arriving to or leaving from Campus, by contacting JCU Security on 4781 5555 or extension 15555 internally.

11. Risk Assessment and Workplace Safety Plans

11.1 When a staff member discloses a concern regarding domestic or family violence, strategies to ensure the safety of the staff member and others in the workplace may be required. Supervisors should carefully consider any ongoing safety concerns that may arise in relation to the staff member directly affected by domestic or family violence and/or those in the work area of that staff member. These strategies will be developed with input from the supervisor, Manager Campus Safety and Security, and the area's HR Business Partner. This may include the development of a Workplace Safety Plan that encompasses the responsibilities of the Supervisor and any impacted staff.

11.2 When developing a Risk Assessment and Workplace Safety Plan the following must be considered:

11.2.1 the Plan must be consented to by the affected staff member;

11.2.2 the Plan must be reviewed with the affected staff member on a regular basis (and may be adjusted at any time in consultation with and by agreement from the staff member);

11.2.3 the affected staff member's emergency contact details must be kept up to date;

11.2.4 all reasonable attempts should be made to ensure the affected staff member is supported to maintain their ordinary working hours or rosters and working conditions;

11.2.5 compliance with Police/Court orders (such as but not limited to Temporary Protection Orders, or Domestic Violence Orders);

11.2.6 the Plan may require consultation with other areas within the University, which will be coordinated by the Divisional HR Business Partner on a confidential basis, and

11.2.7 what appropriate and timely action will be taken if the affected staff member does not arrive at work as scheduled and there are reasonable concerns for their safety.

11.3 If a perpetrator of domestic violence attends upon and/or disrupts the workplace at JCU (whether in breach of a Police/Court Order or not) the affected staff member's supervisor must:

11.3.1 contact JCU Campus Safety and Security by dialling 15555 or 1800 675 559 as applicable and requesting assistance (and immediate police attendance as necessary);

11.3.2 contact the relevant Divisional HR Business Partner and advise of the incident;

11.3.3 document the incident as soon as possible and send it to security@jcu.edu.au; and

11.3.4 refer any staff involved in or witnessing the incident who need counselling or to debrief to JCU’s Employee Assistance Program

11.4 The relevant Divisional HR Business Partner will consult with the Chief of Staff and Manager, Campus Safety and Security for advice regarding personal safety and security of involved staff members; to review and assess any additional perceived or potential security risks as a result of the breach; and to implement and ensure that appropriate security management processes are put in place and regularly reviewed.

Support Services and Information

1. Employee Assistance Program

1.1  JCU’s Employee Assistance Program aligns with the University’s goal for a proactive, healthy, and safe culture at JCUs workplaces and learning environments. It provides professional, confidential counselling and support 24/7, and is free to eligible staff and their immediate family members.

2. External Support Services and Information

2.1  There are also a number of external support services available to an individual impacted by a situation of domestic or family violence.

  • North Queensland Domestic Violence Resource Service provides a range of crisis intervention, counselling, court support, face to face assistance and group programs for victims and perpetrators of domestic and family violence (contactable on 4721 2888).
  • Cairns Regional Domestic Violence Service offers counselling, court support and community training violence (contactable on 4033 6100).
  • DVConnect is a 24 hour Domestic Violence helpline. DVConnect’s Womensline (1800 811 811) is Queensland’s only 24 hour, seven days a week crisis response telephone helpline offering free, specialist crisis counselling, as well as information, referrals and support to people living with domestic and family violence. DVConnect’s Mensline (1800 600 636) is a free, confidential telephone crisis counselling, referral and support service for men who experiencing domestic violence or who are using violence in their relationships.
  • 1800Respect is a national sexual assault, and domestic and family violence counselling service. This national 24 hour, seven days a week confidential service provides support for people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing sexual assault and/or domestic and family violence; friends and families; and workers and professional supporting someone experiencing, or at risk of experiencing sexual assault and/or domestic and family violence.

Related policy instruments

Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy

Domestic and Family Violence Policy

Digital Technologies Acceptable Use Policy

James Cook University Enterprise Agreement

Social Media Policy

Staff Code of Conduct

Related documents and legislation

Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012


Approval Details

Policy DomainCorporate Governance
Policy Sub-domainCulture

Policy Custodian

Vice Chancellor

Approval Authority


Date for next review


Revision History


Approval date

Implementation Date

Description of changes


NANA - administrative15/08/20231.2 amended to remove broken link - replaced with link to DV Connect.Chief of Staff




New procedure established to support the Domestic and Family Violence Policy.

Chief of Staff



Domestic Violence, Leave, Safety