Policy Number: HR201811-1.0 • Version/Last Updated: 1.0 / September 2018 • Audience: Public • Commencement: September 2016 (review 2018)
- 1.0 Rationale
Pope Francis wrote “The true strength of the Christian is the power of truth and love, which leads to the renunciation of all violence. Faith and violence are incompatible.”
Sydney Catholic Schools (SCS) is committed to ensuring that all staff, students and families in Australia are supported should they experience domestic violence. Violence in domestic relationships has no place in our society. SCS will take seriously any disclosure of domestic violence and support staff and students through the legal process.
- 2.0 Guiding Principles
student and staff safety;
challenging any language in the workplace that degrades women, men or children;
identifying and opposing sexual and gender based harassment in the workplace;
ensuring that employees and students are aware that domestic violence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated;
listening to victims of domestic violence and learning from victims of domestic violence;
learning about the issue of domestic violence; and
supporting disclosure of domestic violence through educationand recognition that disclosure could save a life.
- 3.0 Policy
Support for those experiencing domestic violence
Support will be provided to any member of the school community who discloses that they are a victim of domestic violence or that they are caring for a person who is a victim of domestic violence or that they have become aware that another person is experiencing domestic violence.
Any staff member who experiences domestic violence will be encouraged to contact Employee Access Program (EAP) Counselling for support and may be referred to relevant Catholic Support Agencies.
Any student who experiences domestic violence will be supported through school or regional counselling supports.
Any parent who experiences domestic violence may be referred to appropriate Catholic Support Agencies.
An employee is able to access personal/carers leave where they are not able to work due to domestic violence, or to provide care or support to a member of their immediate family or household member who is experiencing domestic violence.
For an employee to access personal/carers leave for domestic violence the employee needs only to disclose the fact of domestic violence and that such circumstances prevent attendance at work.
Disclosures of domestic violence
Any disclosure of domestic violence will be considered confidential with the exception of the reporting requirements to Police/FACS/other agencies.
Any disclosure by any person (parent, student, staff member, or volunteer) of domestic violence that requires reporting will be reported to Police and FACS (where appropriate) at the earliest opportunity. A report to Police and/or FACS may be a requirement under the NSW Crimes Act 1901 and the NSW Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998.
Any disclosure of domestic violence involving any child or young person (where that child is directly experiencing domestic violence or is in a home where they witness domestic violence) may initiate a Risk of Significant Harm report to FACS, and a report to NSW Police.
To minimise the risks to staff and students, all staff and students are to be educated on this policy and report to their Principal if they become aware that any member of the school community is experiencing domestic violence.
Where an employee makes an allegation of domestic violence against another person or is a protected person in any order related to domestic violence (i.e. Apprehended Domestic Violence Order (ADVO) or Apprehended Personal Violence Order (APVO)) the employee should provide a copy of the relevant orders to their manager/Principal to ensure that the school can enact appropriate safety measures for the employee on the school site/school events. Records in relation to staff domestic violence will be held confidentially with employee files consistent with the Record (Data) Management and Retention Policy
Where an employee is experiencing domestic violence a school may contact Human Resources to seek the implementation of an Inclosed Lands Act Order preventing access to the school site of the person accused of domestic violence against the employee. Where necessary, transfer to a new location of work would be facilitated, to assist a victim to escape from a domestic violence situation.
Allegations of domestic violence against employees
It is the expectation of SCS that no staff member will commit any act of domestic violence. Any such behaviours are considered to be incompatible with the Catholic ethos of our system.
Any employee who is or has been subject to a complaint as a result of domestic violence (as defined in 6.1) is required to disclose this to their Principal/Manager as soon as possible after being charged by Police and/or is the defendant in an ADVO or APVO.
Any employee who is or has been charged as a result a complaint of domestic violence (as defined in 6.1) should understand that the matter may trigger a risk assessment under the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012, Working with Children Status and that an outcome of that assessment may include cancellation or revocation of their Working with Children Check clearance or imposition of an ‘interim bar’.
Any employee who is or has been charged as a result a complaint of domestic violence (as defined in 6.1) or is the defendant in an ADVO/APVO involving a child needs to be aware that they will be subject to a reportable conduct investigation under the NSW Ombudsmans Act 1974 Part 3A and that they may be immediately placed on leave or stood down without pay consistent with the provisions of the relevant enterprise agreement or may be terminated by SCS.
Any employee who is or has been charged with criminal offences as a result of a complaint of domestic violence (as defined in 6.1) or is the defendant in an ADVO/APVO involving an adult needs to be aware that they may be immediately placed on leave or stood down without pay consistent with the provisions of the relevant enterprise agreement or may be terminated by Sydney Catholic Schools.
Any employee who is convicted of a criminal offence as a result of a complaint of domestic violence (as defined in 6.1) may be terminated as an employee of SCS after an appropriate employment process and relevant risk assessment.
- 4.0 Procedures
Responsibilities of Principals/Managers/Team Leaders
To ensure that school staff and students are safe.
To take reasonable steps to protect students and staff from risks.
To notify NSW police and FACS (where required) of any allegation of domestic violence disclosed by a student, staff or community member.
To provide staff who disclose that they are the victim of or are caring for a person experiencing domestic violence with access to EAP ACCESS Counselling and advising them of the availability of Personal/Carers Leave for domestic violence.
To obtain copies of any legal orders that are applicable to the situation and store securely in line with the Record (Data) Management and Retention Policy.
To contact Human Resources to discuss any additional needs including facilitated transfer to a new, undisclosed workplace.
To give appropriate support to students who disclose that they are the victim of or are caring for a person experiencing domestic violence.
Responsibilities of parents
Where a parent (or their child) is involved in any criminal proceedings related to domestic violence or are under the protection of an ADVO/APVO, they must provide relevant documentation to the Principal as soon as practicable after an order is made.
Parents must ensure that the school holds up-to-date court orders throughout the child’s enrolment including relevant Family Court or criminal court orders.
Parents who become aware, or are made aware, by their child or young person that another member of the school community is experiencing domestic violence, or is involved in any criminal proceedings relating to domestic violence, must disclose this to the school Principal.
Responsibilities of SCS Staff
To ensure that school colleagues and students are safe and that all reasonable steps are taken to protect students and colleagues from risks.
To notify the Principal/Manager/Team Leader of any disclosure of domestic violence made to the staff member by a member of the school community.
To notify the Principal/Manager/Team Leader of any allegation of domestic violence against a member of the school community, which the employee becomes aware of during the course of their employment.
To advise colleagues who disclose that they are the victim of, or are caring for, a person experiencing domestic violence that they have access to EAP ACCESS Counselling and advise them of the availability of personal/carers leave for domestic violence.
To give appropriate support to students who disclose that they are the victim of, or are caring for, a person experiencing domestic violence or who have disclosed that they are aware that another person is experiencing domestic violence.
Responsibilities of students
Where students become aware that another student or person is experiencing domestic violence the student should tell their teacher or Principal as soon as possible.
Students need to be aware that unless they report domestic violence to a trusted adult in the school, appropriate support cannot be provided to victims or families experiencing domestic violence.
Education programs should focus on encouraging disclosure, recognising that disclosure may save a life.
- 5.0 Bases of Discretion
- 6.0 Explanatory Notes and Definitions
Domestic violence involves but is not limited to, violence committed by a person upon another person with whom they are in a domestic relationship including:
- Physical assault (including punching, hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping, choking or the use of weapons);
- Sexual assault (being forced to have sex or participate in sexual activities, either by watching or participating);
- Emotional abuse (making a person feel worthless, criticising their personality, looks, the way they dress, constantly putting them down, threatening to hurt them, their children or their pets);
- Verbal abuse (including yelling, shouting, name calling and swearing at them);
- Social abuse, or isolation (being stopped from seeing friends and family, isolating them socially or geographically);
- Damaging property such as furniture, the house or pets in order to threaten or intimidate;
- Financial abuse (taking control of the money, not giving the person enough money to survive on, forcing a person to hand over their money, not allowing a person to have a say in how money is spent); and
- Stalking and/or harassment via repeated phone calls or text messages.
Under the NSW Police definition, a domestic relationship includes:
- A person you are currently or have been married to;
- A person you have or have previously had a de facto relationship with;
- A person who is or has been a relative;
- A person with whom you have or have had an intimate personal relationship (it does not have to be a sexual relationship);
- A person who is living or has lived in the same household (including tenant or boarder); and
- A relationship involving dependence on the ongoing paid or unpaid care of a person.
For the purposes of this policy, the school community involves SCS employees/contractors/volunteers, students, parents or student family members.
- 7.0 Supporting Documents
- Critical Incident Management Policy (internal)
- Child Protection: Responding to Complaints and Allegations Policy
- Code of Professional Conduct
- Parental Leave Policy (internal)
- Staff Health and Wellbeing Policy (internal)
- Record (Data) Management and Retention Policy (internal)
- Employee Access Program (EAP)
- Leave Handbooks
- 8.0 Appendix
- 9.0 Classification
Policy Number: HR201811-1.0
Last modified: September 2018
This policy supersedes all previous policies relating to matters contained therein. In so much as any aspect of this policy may appear to be in conflict with another Archdiocesan system or school-based policy, then precedence is to be given to this policy.
Review by: May 2021
Approved by Leadership Team: 5 May 2016
Approved by Executive Director of Sydney Catholic Schools: 3 September 2016
Review approved by Executive Director of Sydney Catholic Schools: 10 September 2018
Commencement Date: 5 September 2016 (reviewed 2018)
SCS recognises that domestic violence impacts upon safety,and physical and emotional wellbeing, and so is committed to: