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How employers can greater support family and domestic violence victims

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read

Showing solidarity with employees that are struggling with family or domestic violence is a great way to support them through the hardships.

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Keynote speaker and mental health advocate Tammy Hewitt joined The HR Leader for a Q&A. Here she discussed the government’s new paid domestic and family violence leave policy and how businesses can support staff.

HR Leader: “What policies can employers implement to help protect employees affected by family or domestic violence?”

Ms Hewitt: “First of all, try and imagine what that person would be going through. What are they feeling? What are they seeing? What are they hearing? What are they experiencing? Because the more that you can have an appreciation for some of the things they might be thinking, feeling, seeing, [you’ll know] what we need to then do.”

“We have to be really prescriptive. So then people know that the employer, they’ve actually considered this. It will show that the employer actually cares, and they’re not just putting one of these policies in a bookshelf that collects dust, they actually believe in it and understand how important [it is],” explained Ms Hewitt.

“It’s almost like as if I think we need to treat these situations as potential crisis situations. You need to think worst-case scenario, first of all, and then reverse-engineer it. Because we need to understand that this might be in somebody’s eyes that hasn’t been through this or doesn’t have the emotional intelligence.”

HR Leader: “How can businesses reassure their employees that they’re going to be protected under the government’s new legislation?”

Ms Hewitt: “Hopefully, most employers have already shared with their staff that they’re acknowledging the change in legislation. If you haven’t done that yet, I think that’s really critical that you do that. Even if it’s putting up an announcement or something, just to acknowledge the change in legislation and to also let employees know the business’s stance on it.”

She continued: “Review how the business [can] best adopt this legislation and go beyond. [See] if anybody wanted to share any insights [and] provide that opportunity for people to be seen and heard. Of course, there [are] going to be people that don’t want to speak up, but there [are] people that will and do want to share some insights. I think if you do have some lived experience, survivors of family and domestic violence, get them involved.”

The transcript of this podcast episode, when quoted above, was slightly edited for publishing purposes. The full audio conversation with Tammy Hewitt on 27 February 2023 is below, and the original podcast article can be found here.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.