What conduct constitutes family violence?
Family violence is conduct committed by a person, directly or indirectly, against the person’s spouse or partner, former spouse or partner, member of household or immediate family.
Under section 7 of the Family Violence Act 2004, the following types of conduct constitute family violence:
- Assault, including sexual assault;
- Verbal abuse;
- Economic abuse;
- Emotional abuse or intimidation;
- Breaching any existing family violence orders; and
- Damage caused by a person to any property jointly or individually owned.
Entitlement to family violence leave
Permanent and fixed-term employees experiencing family violence may access up to 10 days family violence leave per personal leave year. An employee may take this leave in hours. Family violence leave is a discrete form of leave separate from an employee’s leave balance.
If an employee has exhausted their paid family violence leave for the personal leave year, then the employee may apply for additional paid family violence leave. An employee may consider applying for paid special leave on the grounds of pressing necessity if leave needs to be taken at short notice. However, a grant of additional paid family violence leave is discretionary.
Part-timers receive family violence leave on a pro rata basis.
Relief employees experiencing family violence are entitled to not be available to attend work. The employee and employer are to agree on the period of leave. If no agreement can be reached, then the relief employee is entitled to not be available to attend work for up to 10 days per occasion.
When can I apply for family violence leave?
An employee who is experiencing family violence can access family violence leave to:
- Attend medical/counselling/legal/financial appointments;
- organise safe housing;
- access police services;
- attend court hearings;
- access legal advice;
- organise child care, education or care services;
- maintain support networks with children, family and significant others; and
- undertake other related activities.
Giving notice to your employer
An employee experiencing family violence can access their accrued personal leave at short notice, or without prior notice as long as notice is given to the employer at the earliest opportunity.
Where possible, it is prudent for an employee to provide the employer with prior notice and the estimated duration of the required leave.
How do I apply for family violence leave?
There are options for an employee applying for leave:
An employee can notify their principal/line manager of the absence and apply for leave by filling out the Leave Application Form with supporting documentation. Any supporting documentation that the employee provides should be sighted by the principal/line manager and returned to the employee. The leave application form should then be forwarded to HR. Once the application is processed, the supporting documentation is deleted.
If an employee does not want to discuss the circumstances of the leave with their principal/line manager, then the employee, after notifying their principal/line manager of their absence, can forward a Leave Application Form and supporting documents to the Director Human Resource Services, HR.General@education.tas.gov.au, marked ‘confidential’. Once the leave is processed, the supporting documentation will be returned to the employee by mail, marked private and confidential to their workplace. No documentation will be kept on the employee’s file unless there is a specific request to do so by the employee.
When making an application for family violence leave, an employee can authorise an AEU union official to act on your behalf.
What evidence do I need to provide to support an application for family violence leave?
Where practicable, an employee should support an application for family violence leave with documentation or contact information from professional support services such as:
- Safe at Home Service provider (Police, Court Support and Liaison Service, Family Violence Counselling and Support Service, Legal Aid, Magistrates Court);
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider;
- Specialist family violence counselling or women’s refuge service;
- Legal service; or
- Medical practitioner.
Where the employee can demonstrate that it is not practicable to provide such information, then a statutory declaration can be provided.
However, no reasonable request will be denied for immediate and short-term absences.
Privacy and Confidentiality
The employer is to take appropriate action to protect the identity of the employee applying for family violence leave and maintain their confidentiality and privacy in approving, managing and recording family violence leave.
Any documentation provided by the employee as evidence to support their application for family violence leave is to be returned to the employee immediately without being copied or recorded in any way and no information regarding family violence leave is to be kept on an employee’s personnel file without the employee’s express written permission.
Flexible Working Arrangements
Subject to reasonable operational requirements, the employer may make flexible working arrangements to assist and support an employee experiencing family violence, including:
- Altered working times;
- Required absences;
- Alternative working location; and
- Changes to an employee’s telephone number and email address.
Such arrangements must take into account the safety of the employee and others including, the employee’s children, co-workers and clients.
Contact Officers for Family Violence
An employee experiencing family violence can seek the support of nominated Contact Officers.
Contact Officers are trained in family violence and related issues such as sensitivity, privacy, providing access to support and referral services, proposing reasonable adjustments to work arrangements, family risk assessment and risk management.
An employee can request the Contact Officer to liaise with the employee’s supervisor/manager on the employee’s behalf and recommend the most appropriate form of support and management. Conversations with the Contact Officers are confidential.
Regional White Ribbon Project Officers:
- Susan Souter – North
- P: 0419 854 110
- E: email@example.com
- Jonathon Papadopoulo – South
- P: 0438 943 638
- E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Personal leave for employees providing support
If you are providing support to a member of your immediate family or household who is experiencing family violence, you may be granted personal leave in accordance with the Personal Leave provisions.
Support Services available for employees experiencing family violence
There are a number of services that can assist and support employees experiencing family violence, including:
Free Legal Advice for AEU Members
- AEU members are offered one free consultation at Ogilvie Jennings to obtain legal advice.
- Appointments are offered in Hobart, Launceston or Burnie.
- To make an appointment call the AEU on 1800 001 313 or email us on the form on the AEU website – https://aeutas.org.au/joinupdate/member-benefits/free-legal-advice-for-aeu-members/.
Legal Aid Commission of Tasmania
You can make an appointment to speak with a Safe at Home Solicitor on 1300 366 611.
Family Violence Counselling and Support Service (Department of Health and Human Services) – State-wide
Services include information, counselling and support, assisting in organising a safe play to stay, referrals to Legal Aid and/or Court Support, arranging assistance from police, and information and support to family and friends.
This service operates from 9am to midnights weekdays and 4pm to midnight weekends and public holidays.
The state-wide contact number is 1800 608 122.
Engender Equality/ SHE Hobart
SHE provides free and confidential counselling and support for people affected by family violence.
Counsellors are available in Hobart, Launceston, and North West Tasmania.
The state-wide contact number is (03) 6278 9090.
- 1800Respect is a 24 hour national family and domestic violence counselling line for people who have experienced, or are at risk of, family violence.
- The contact number is 1800 737 732.
Huon Domestic Violence Service
- This is a free and confidential service to anyone affected by family violence in the Huon Valley.
- Services include support, counselling, court support, information and advocacy.
- Workers are available Monday- Friday 9 am- 4.30 pm.
- The contact number is (03) 6264 2222.
Relationship Abuse of an Intimate Nature (RAIN)
- RAIN is a free service that provides support to people experiencing domestic or family violence.
- The serving regions are West and Northwest Tasmania, Northwest Tasmania, Devonport and surrounds, Circular Head and West Coast.
- The contact number is 1800 243 232.
Employee Assistance Provider (EAP)
- Converge International offers up to four free confidential counselling services for employees per year which can be used for personal issues.
- The contact number is 1300 687 327.
Court Support and Liaison Service
- This service provides free and confidential advice to people experiencing family violence.
- Court Support Officers can assist you with taking out Family Violence Orders, advising on the court process, accompanying you to court, and providing referrals.
- Phone: 1300 663 773 (toll free) or Hobart: (03) 6165 7525
- Launceston: (03) 6777 2937
- Burnie: (03) 6477 7133
- An Aboriginal Court Support Officer can assist and support Aboriginal adult victims of family violence. The contact number is 1300 663 773 (toll free) or (03) 6165 7530.
Support services available for an employee charged with a family violence offence
Defendant Health Liaison Service (Department of Health and Human Services)
- This service assists people who hav e been issued with a Police Family Violence Order.
- The service can provide information and advice about what a Police Family Violence Order is, how it operates, and how to prevent breaches of the Order.
- 0419 009 628 (for Southern Tasmania)
- 0400 066 169 (for North Western Tasmania)
- 0437 589 627 (for Northern Tasmania)