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New Support Set to Reduce Impact of Domestic Violence

The Trusts West Auckland has become the first hospitality organisation in the country to receive the DVFREE Tick - an independent certification of their support for staff who are impacted by domestic violence.

Around one in three NZ women are physically or sexually abused by a partner or ex-partner in their lifetime, with half of all NZ murders domestic-related. In addition, domestic violence costs employers $368 million annually as a result of lost productivity.

The DVFREE Tick was established by Shine, a national domestic abuse charity, to help businesses support staff impacted by family violence.

The Trusts CEO Simon Wickham says store and venue managers have completed training to ensure they know how to assist any staff members or colleagues experiencing domestic violence. Frontline team members will also receive training to let them know what support is available.

He says The Trusts employs more than 320 staff throughout their retail and hospitality network, with many expressing support for the initiative.

Wickham says those staff who have been victims of abuse can expect 10 annual domestic violence leave days, support from ‘trained responders’, a change in work duties, hours or location and other measures to make them safer at work.

He says as an example of how the new policies will be implemented, the organisation may step in and serve trespass notices against anyone who has used violence towards a staff member.

“The formalisation of policies around domestic violence has sent a clear message to our staff that we are putting the infrastructure and training in place to ensure they are protected and supported within the workplace.

“Our trained first responders will listen to our staff members safety concerns, work with them to create their own personal safety plans, assist with access to helplines and services and support them during their working hours,” says Wickham.

“While we are known for our financial contributions to organisations in the community - including those who support people impacted by domestic violence, we also want our staff to know that if they are impacted by domestic violence in any way we will be there for them,” he says.

DVFREE Advisor Holly Carrington congratulates The Trusts for achieving the certification and says the programme has been successful in the other organisations it has been implemented in.

“Other organisations taking similar steps with DVFREE have seen a significant increase in staff disclosing domestic violence and seeking help, while their trained ‘First Responders’ and managers report increased confidence in responding effectively to these disclosures,” she says.

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