Policy Corporate Governance Domestic and Family Violence Policy

Domestic and Family Violence Policy

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To outline James Cook University’s commitment to providing a learning and working environment that is safe and supportive of staff and students who may be experiencing the effects of domestic or family violence.


This policy applies to all staff and students of James Cook University.


Except as otherwise specified in this Policy, the meaning of terms used are as per the Policy Glossary.

Domestic and Family Violence:

As defined in the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (Qld), domestic and family violence means behaviour by a person (the first person) towards another person (the second person) with whom the first person is in a relevant relationship that:

a)  is physically or sexually abusive; or

b)  is emotionally or psychologically abusive; or

c)  is economically abusive; or

d)  is threatening; or

e)  is coercive; or

f)  in  any other  way  controls or  dominates  the second person  and  causes the  second  person to  fear for the second person’s safety or wellbeing or that of someone else.

Relevant Relationship:

As defined in the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 (Qld), a ‘relevant relationship’ means:

a)  an intimate personal relationship; or

b)  a family relationship; or

c)  an informal care relationship.


1. The Effects of Domestic or Family Violence

1.1   James Cook University (JCU) recognises that domestic or family violence is not tolerated in society and that its staff members or students affected by domestic or family violence may suffer significant physical and/or emotional trauma, loss of work and educational opportunities and disruption to their lives. JCU is committed to promoting the health and safety of its staff and students on campus, in the workplace and learning environment.

1.2   JCU recognises any person can be affected by domestic and family violence and that the impact of violence is not restricted only to private life and that its impacts can extend to the workplace or learning environment.

2. Organisational Support

2.1   JCU will assist staff and students experiencing the effects of domestic and family violence with the aim of supporting their continued participation in employment and/or study and to ensure they are not disadvantaged. The University will provide this support by:

2.1.1 coordinating existing support services available at JCU (including access to confidential and professional counselling);

2.1.2 flexible application of work and/or study arrangements;

2.1.3 co-operating with Police/Legal orders;

2.1.4 protecting staff and student health and safety when in the JCU workplace and learning environment; and

2.1.5 any other supports, measures or adjustments that are appropriate and able to be offered by JCU, in the circumstances.

2.2   JCU seeks to create an environment where staff and students feel comfortable and safe in coming forward to disclose domestic and family violence and in requesting access to leave and adjustments in accordance with the Domestic and Family Violence (Staff Support) Procedure and the Domestic and Family Violence (Student Support) Procedure.

2.3   A staff member or student who experiences situations of violence and abuse in their domestic or family life that may adversely impact on their attendance and/or performance in their employment or in their studies at JCU will not be disadvantaged.

3. Confidentiality

3.1   Any disclosure to the University or request for support made by a staff member or student who is experiencing domestic and family violence will be dealt with on a confidential basis. All personal information given in relation to situations of domestic and family violence will be kept confidential. No information will be kept on a personnel or student file without their express permission.

3.2   Personal information provided by staff or students to the University concerning issues of domestic or family violence will be used solely for the purpose of assessing that individual's needs and determining and applying any appropriate support mechanisms as required and agreed between JCU and the staff member or student.

3.3   A JCU staff member or student will not be victimised or otherwise subjected to detrimental action as a consequence of that person raising, providing information about, or otherwise being involved in the support for an individual experiencing domestic or family violence.

Perpetrating Domestic and Family Violence

4. Potential Breach of University Policy

4.1   JCU does not tolerate domestic or family violence and prohibits this violence being perpetrated in, or from, the workplace or learning environment. The University will not tolerate the misuse of University resources to engage in behaviour that threatens, harasses, victimises or abuses another person. Behaviour of this nature may be a breach of the University’s respective Codes of Conduct, Information Communication Technology Acceptable Use Policy and Procedures, Social Media Policy and the Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, as well as a criminal offence and/or breach of any relevant and applicable protection orders.

4.2   If a staff member or student is observed, or suspected of, perpetrating domestic or family violence in, or from, the workplace or learning environment, JCU has a responsibility to undertake appropriate action which would include reporting such behaviour in accordance with the relevant JCU Policy and/or to JCU Campus Safety and Security.

4.3   The University encourages all JCU students or staff to confidentially disclose to their Academic Head or supervisor as relevant any allegations of, or court proceedings involving, domestic and family violence orders in which they are the respondent to ensure reasonable adjustments to study or work may be made as well as access to counselling or Employee Assistance Program support.

4.4   Where a perpetrator and the person subjected to the domestic or family violence are either staff and/or students of the University, consideration will normally be given to alternative work and/or study arrangements to ensure the safety of all parties.

Related policy instruments

Domestic and Family Violence (Staff Support) Procedure

Domestic and Family Violence (Student Support) Procedure

James Cook University Enterprise Agreement

Staff Code of Conduct

Student Code of Conduct

Related documents and legislation

Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012


NOTE: Printed copies of this policy are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy DomainCorporate Governance
Policy Sub-domainCulture

Policy Custodian

Vice Chancellor

Approval Authority


Date for next Major Review


Revision History


Approval date

Implementation Date

Description of changes





Revised to include support to students. New procedures specific to staff and students

Chief of Staff




Updated to reflect 2016 Enterprise Agreement changes

Deputy Director Human Resources




mid-year review of HR polices in line with the HR operational plan item deliver policy reviews fitness for future purpose

Deputy Director Human Resources




Policy review date extended to 31/12/17 on request by Deputy Director HR. Approved by DVC Services and Resources

Quality, Standards and Policy Unit




Minor amendment

Quality, Standards and Policy




Policy sponsor and approval authority updated to reflect approved policy framework





Policy established

Belinda Pope

Contact person: Chief of Staff


Domestic Violence, Leave, Safety