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POL-G-057, Version 1.1, 18 September 2020

1. Title

Domestic and family violence policy

2. Definition of terms

Employee

Any person employed by the Museum under the Public Service Act 1999 or Museum volunteer who has completed an induction for their role with the Museum.

3. Introduction

The National Museum of Australia (the Museum) is a major cultural institution charged with researching, collecting, preserving and exhibiting historical material of the Australian nation. The Museum focuses on the three interrelated areas of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture, Australia’s history and society since European settlement in 1788 and the interaction of people with the environment.

Established in 1980, the Museum is a publicly funded institution governed as a statutory authority in the Commonwealth Arts portfolio. The Museum’s building on Acton Peninsula, Canberra opened in March 2001.

4. Scope

4.1 Purpose of the domestic and family violence policy

The Museum is committed to supporting employees affected by domestic and family violence. A sensitive and holistic approach to supporting employees allows them to continue to participate in the workplace during a difficult time.

This policy provides a framework to support employees who experience domestic and family violence. Employees who are experiencing, or who are at risk of experiencing, domestic and family violence are encouraged to seek support from the workplace to continue working.

This policy also acts as a guide for managers and colleagues to enable them to appropriately support employees whose work life is affected by domestic and family violence. It outlines support available within and outside the workplace for individuals, their managers and their colleagues.

4.2 What is domestic or family violence?

Lifeline describes domestic and family violence as a pattern of abusive behaviour in an intimate relationship that over time puts one person in a position of power over another and causes fear. It is often referred to as a pattern of coercion and control. Statistically, domestic and family violence is most likely to be committed against women, however it can also affect men.

Domestic and family violence can include, but is not limited to:

  • physical assault
  • sexual assault or other sexually abusive behaviour
  • emotional or psychological abuse
  • verbal abuse
  • spiritual or cultural abuse
  • economic or financial abuse.

Employees may sometimes experience situations of violence or abuse in their personal life, which may affect their attendance or performance at work.

The Museum recognises the potentially devastating impact that domestic and family violence can have on the lives of those who experience it, including their capacity to work and their financial security. The Museum is committed to supporting employees who experience domestic and family violence and providing a workplace environment that enables flexibility in times of need.

5. Principles or guidelines

5.1 Immediate danger

If you are feeling unsafe in the workplace or a colleague has told you that they are feeling unsafe and are in immediate danger, contact Museum Security on x5023 or call the police on 000.

5.2 Support

Employees experiencing domestic and family violence may require a range of support. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • flexible working arrangements — under the National Employment Standards an employee experiencing violence from a member of the employee’s family has a right to request flexible working arrangements. Such requests could include:
    • a change of hours to allow the employee to meet family commitments
    • changes to work location
    • relocation to suitable alternative employment where this is able to be identified.
  • a security escort to and from the employee’s car and/or other security measures where possible and as required
  • a change of phone number/s and/or email address to limit unwanted contact, or screening or blocking calls and emails
  • contact with police on the employee’s behalf where appropriate, such as an emergency situation or where the employee has given written permission to do so
  • flexibility in performance management — domestic and family violence should be acknowledged as a potential mitigating factor if performance has been affected. Managers should:
    • continue to have regular, sensitive conversations with the employee about the job requirements, performance expectations and development opportunities of that performance cycle
    • with assistance from Human Resources, offer to develop workload strategies for work to be managed and performance assessed having regard to the employee’s circumstances
    • referral to external support through the employee assistance program or other organisations.
    • access to leave entitlements in accordance with the Museum Enterprise Agreement
    • any other measures or changes that are considered appropriate by the Museum.

Note: flexible working arrangements may be refused on reasonable business grounds in accordance with the provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009. Examples of circumstances which may be considered reasonable in this context, include, but are not limited to:

  • the new working arrangements would be too costly for the Museum
  • there is no capacity to change the working arrangements of other employees to accommodate the new working arrangements requested by the employee
  • the new working arrangements would likely result in a significant loss of efficiency or productivity
  • the new working arrangements would likely result in a significant negative impact on customer service.

Where specific flexible working arrangements can’t be accommodated by the Museum, the Museum will work collaboratively with the employee to develop a suitable solution that offers support to the individual.

5.3 Confidentiality

Information about a domestic and family violence situation should be handled similarly to other personnel and health information.

Employees and managers must maintain appropriate confidentiality in regard to personal information. Discussions with managers, supervisors or with Human Resources will be on a strictly need-to-know basis.

Discussions should not include personal information without obtaining prior written consent from the employee. However, the Australian privacy principles permit the use and disclosure of personal information in certain circumstances including lessening or preventing a serious threat to life, health or safety, or taking appropriate action in relation to suspected unlawful activity or serious misconduct. If there are any concerns in relation to when it may be appropriate to release information under these circumstances, please contact the Museum’s Legal Manager or Human Resources Manager.

5.4 Roles and responsibilities

5.4.1 Employees

Employees who wish to access any of the support available within the workplace can contact any of the following people:

  • their business unit manager
  • their Deputy Director or the Chief Operating Officer
  • the Human Resources Manager
  • Museum Security.

Employees can also seek assistance from an external service. A list of services, including 24- hour support services and their contact details, can be found at 5.8 of this policy and on Museum Central.

Employees experiencing domestic and family violence may choose to disclose their situation to a trusted colleague or a Workplace Support Officer. Where such information is disclosed, the colleague should provide support to the employee by:

  • listening without judgement and respecting their decisions
  • maintaining appropriate confidentiality
  • encouraging them to seek help from a domestic and family violence support organisation
  • referring them to this policy, the Employee Assistance Program, or any of the external support services listed at 5.8 of this policy.

Where the colleague is concerned about the employee's health and safety at work, they should speak to the HR Manager, their Deputy Director or the Chief Operating Officer or Security.

Employees who have had information disclosed to them are encouraged to seek support for themselves within or outside the workplace, including through Human Resources, a Workplace Support Officer or the Employee Assistance Program provided by the Museum.

5.4.2 Business unit managers

Business unit managers are responsible for ensuring all Museum staff within their team are aware of this policy, and providing support, consistent with this policy, to employees affected by domestic and family violence. They may also be required to consult and coordinate support with Human Resources for an employee experiencing domestic and family violence.

Where a business unit manager is concerned about the wellbeing of an employee, they should discuss their concerns with the staff member, encouraging them to use the assistance available if needed, and/or consult with Human Resources.

Where a domestic and family violence raises work health and safety concerns, managers should discuss these with the HR Manager or, where appropriate, with the Security manager.

Business unit managers should facilitate support for an employee to the fullest extent possible in the workplace.

If a business unit manager needs support because of an employee disclosing family and domestic violence to them, they can also contact the HR Manager, a Workplace Support Officer or the Employee Assistance Program provided by the Museum.

5.4.3 Human Resources

Human Resources is responsible for providing advice to employees and Business Unit managers about this policy, available resources and options. This includes information about relevant terms and conditions of employment that will assist an employee under these circumstances.

Human Resources is also responsible for coordinating workplace support for employees affected by domestic and family violence. This may include:

  • undertaking a risk assessment and developing a safety plan with the employee
  • coordinating security and IT assistance
  • advising and liaising with the employee’s line manager.

The domestic and family violence contact officer in Human Resources is the Human Resources Manager, who can be contacted by phone at 02 6208 5156.

5.5 Leave

Leave is provided in accordance with the Museum’s Enterprise Agreement.

The Museum Enterprise Agreement contains leave entitlements designed to assist employees and allow them flexibility to deal with personal crises, such as being affected by domestic or family violence.

The Museum is committed to supporting employees experiencing domestic or family violence. A flexible and supportive approach will be taken to management of leave for employees affected by domestic or family violence.

Employees who are affected by domestic or family violence may be granted paid or unpaid leave for reasons including:

  • attending medical or counselling appointments
  • moving into emergency accommodation and seeking more permanent safe housing
  • attending court hearings
  • attending police appointments
  • accessing legal advice
  • organising alternative care or educational arrangements for their children
  • reasonable recovery periods.

Personal/carer’s leave entitlements should be used:

  • for illness or injury affecting the employee resulting from domestic or family violence
  • to provide care or support to a family or household member who is ill or injured as a result of domestic or family violence
  • to provide care or support to a family or household member who is affected by an unexpected emergency because of domestic or family violence.

In circumstances where personal/carers leave does not apply, or if an employee has exhausted their personal/carer’s leave entitlements, the Museum will make reasonable allowances, subject to the Museum’s Enterprise Agreement. This may include the employee accessing other leave including annual leave, long-service leave or miscellaneous leave. Miscellaneous leave may be approved with or without pay depending on the reason for and length of leave.

Employees may be given flexibility in work hours, and may be allowed to make up time where leave cannot be used.

Where an employee’s absence for reasons associated with domestic and family violence needs to be supported by evidence, the Human Resources Manager will discuss with the employee the available options, such as a statement from a legal representative or court.

5.6 Recording absences

The recording of absences will balance the privacy of the employee and the need to monitor and report on leave usage.

Employees can record their absences securely and privately within the Employee Self Service system. All records will be kept securely and confidentially according to the privacy legislation and the Museum’s privacy and records management policies.

There may be circumstances where an employee needs to access leave and it is approved by the Human Resources Manager. To ensure confidentiality in these circumstances, the Human Resources Manager will advise the employee’s Business Unit Manager that the required leave has been approved and will organise for leave to be recorded in Aurion on the employee’s behalf. If the employee consents to their Business Unit Manager being advised of the reasons for the leave, the Human Resources Manager will liaise with the Business Unit Manager where appropriate.

5.7 Perpetrators of domestic and family violence

The Museum understands that the workplace may include not only employees who are victims of, or affected by, domestic and family violence, but also perpetrators — and that this must be handled appropriately and sensitively.

The Museum will not tolerate domestic and family violence being perpetrated in or from the workplace.

The APS Code of Conduct requires APS employees, when acting in connection with their employment, to treat people with respect and courtesy and without harassment. Any employee who threatens, harasses or abuses a partner, ex-partner, family or household member at, or from, work and/or uses workplace resources such as phones or email to threaten, harass or abuse a family or household member may be investigated for a potential breach of the APS Code of Conduct.

An employee suspected of perpetrating violence will also be referred to the relevant support services, including the Employee Assistance Program provided by the Museum.

Domestic and family violence is a criminal offence and is subject to the laws of the Australian Capital Territory. ACT Police may be notified of any incidents of domestic and family violence in the workplace.

5.8 Seeking external assistance and support

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic and family violence, or you want to find out more, information on community services are maintained on the Human Resources page of Museum Central.

6. Definition of responsibilities

Employees

Are responsible for ensuring they familiarise themselves with this policy to support themselves and their colleagues should they be affected by domestic or family violence.

Where employees are concerned about the safety of their colleague, they should contact their manager or the HR Manager for advice.

Business unit managers

Are responsible for ensuring all employees they are responsible for are aware and familiar with this policy and the supports available should they or their colleagues be affected by domestic or family violence.

Human Resources Manager

Is responsible for ensuring they familiarise themselves with this policy, legislated and Museum policy obligations for workplace flexibility, work health and safety, leave entitlements and support programs.

7. References

Australian Public Service Domestic and Family Violence Policy Framework
National Museum of Australia Enterprise Agreement 2017–2020

8. Implementation

The Human Resources Manager is responsible for ensuring this policy is implemented across the Museum.

8.1 Coverage

This policy is applicable to all ongoing and non-ongoing Museum employees and volunteers.

8.2 Other related policies

POL-G-001 Record keeping policy
POL-G-044 Telecommunications policy
POL-G-052 Guidelines for preventing bullying and harassment
POL-G-053 Privacy policy
POL-C-055 Protective security policy
IT Acceptable use conditions
Code of conduct guidelines

8.3 Exclusions

There are no exclusions applicable to this policy.

8.4 Superseded policies

None

8.5 Monitoring

This policy will be monitored by the Human Resources Manager and will be reviewed in 2022.

Attachment A

Your safety plan checklist

If you are planning to leave an abusive relationship it is important to plan ahead as this can make leaving easier and safer. A person who uses violence and abuse may become more controlling, abusive and dangerous when they believe the person subjected to violence is planning to leave, as this threatens their sense of power and control.

If you have made the decision to leave the relationship, we encourage you to make a safety plan. You can do this by yourself or by contacting a crisis worker at the Domestic Violence Crisis Service available 24 hours every day on 6280 0900 to discuss further.

Before you leave:

☐    Decide how you will leave — by foot, car or if you will call a friend.

☐    Decide where you will go — friend or family, hotel, neighbour or police.

☐    Decide where you will stay — friend or family, hotel or refuge and how long are you able to stay there.

☐    What will you take — consider packing an overnight bag and leave it in your car, or give it to your friend.

☐    Pack your important documents — such as your birth certificate and passport or email copies to your family or friend.

☐    Purchase a mobile phone and make sure your mobile phone is charged and has credit — if you do need to call the police, you don’t have to speak, saying nothing will put them into action.

☐    Consider varying your route to work or family and changing your regular activities, such as going to the gym.

☐    Have you discussed what you are doing with a trusted friend, family member or work colleague and do you need to create a safe word — do not write down your safe word.

☐    Do you have access to money — consider giving some to your family or friend to mind. Are you able to open a new bank account and select the statements be emailed to a secure email address. If so, do you need to arrange for your pay to be diverted to the new account?

☐    If you are staying at home, do you need to change the locks on windows and doors or should you have deadbolts installed.

☐    Should you install sensor lights, window bars, additional locks, an electronic alarm and a chain on your front door.

☐    Ensure you have working fire alarms installed and a fire extinguisher.

☐    Put wood dowel in windows to stop them being slid open.

☐    Place padlocks and chains on gates.

☐    Place sliding bolts on manholes so that they can’t be accessed by the roof.

☐    Get an answering machine and voicemail and screen your calls. This also allows you to record abusive messages.

☐    Teach your children how to use the telephone and call the police and identify a code word that can be used when they feel unsafe.

☐    Talk to all the people who care for your children about who has permission to collect the children.

☐    Do you need to make arrangements for pets?

☐    Ensure the webcam on your computer is turned off, even better, use tape to cover the lens when you aren’t using it.

☐    Set up a secure email address that you can give to police, lawyers, community services etc to use — but maintain the email address the person using violence is aware of.

☐    Change all your passwords and login details, including social media, iTunes, Google Play etc, using strong passwords that are not words, children’s or family names or any of their or your birthdates, and try to have a different password for different accounts.

☐    Ensure your mobile phone is set to auto lock after a short period of time and a pin code is required to unlock it.

☐    Turn off the location function on your phone.

☐    Turn off your bluetooth and set your phone to ‘hidden’.

☐    Program emergency numbers into your phone, using code names if necessary.

☐    Ensure you have engaged all the privacy settings on social media accounts and on each device.

☐    Don’t allow other people to tag you in photos or locations on social media accounts.

☐    Consider using a non-identifying profile and cover photo, such as a flower or landscape on your social media accounts.

☐    Consider using a different city as your location and not including your place of work or education history on social media accounts.

Metadata

ID POL-G-057
Version 1.1
Version date 18 September 2020
Type General operational
Approval dates This version approved by Executive Management Group 6 October 2020
File 19/1245
Availability Public and all staff
Keywords Domestic, family, violence, support, assistance
Responsible officer Human Resources Manager
History None
Review date August 2022
Related documents None
Contact

National Museum of Australia
GPO Box 1901
CANBERRA ACT 2601

Tel: (02) 6208 5000
Email: information@nma.gov.au
Website: www.nma.gov.au

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