26 July 2023

New training to help ACT public servants respond to domestic and family violence

| Ian Bushnell
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The training will help staff provide a more nuanced or tailored response. Photo: Michelle Kroll

ACT Government public servants will receive new training so they can deal better with members of the public who may be experiencing domestic, family and sexual violence.

The e-learning modules from UNSW’s Gendered Violence Research Network (GVRN) will also help staff and managers identify colleagues and team members who may be experiencing or be perpetrators of such violence and respond effectively.

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The ACT Public Service already provides 5.5 hours of online training to staff on awareness, response and supporting team members, but the Community Services Directorate (CSD) has gone to UNSW for a revised training package.

According to the contract, the government wants the new materials to provide examples of how domestic, family and sexual violence is relevant to the work of ACT Government staff, such as situations where a more nuanced or tailored response is required when dealing with affected people.

A recent example provided was when somebody may seek approval to install a front fence for their personal safety, which may contravene the Territory’s planning rules.

The training materials will also provide information about the support available to staff impacted by domestic, family and sexual violence, and how they and others can access support services in the ACT.

This will include resources such as the ACT Domestic and Family Violence Risk Assessment and Management Framework, which was established in response to victim-survivors of domestic violence in the ACT who often experienced services as fragmented, inconsistent and hard to navigate.

They said service staff also failed to notice the signs or hints victim-survivors were giving them about the violence they were living with.

A CSD spokesperson said the training had a specific focus on staff in frontline roles that required higher levels of capabilities in responding to domestic and family violence.

As well as online training, the ACTPS offered face-to-face training for frontline staff.

The spokesperson said the ACTPS offered a range of tailored support for employees experiencing domestic and family violence, including 20 days paid leave for full and part-time employees and 10 days/shifts for casual employees along with access to a range of flexible workplace arrangements.

Staff and their families could also access the Employee Assistance Program.

Any disclosure was treated with the highest possible level of confidentiality, the spokesperson said.

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According to UNSW, GVRN is at the forefront of developing solutions to prevent gendered violence.

“Harnessing decades of specialist research into gendered violence, we’re renowned for providing information-led and practical bespoke training and advisory services to help employers learn how to effectively respond to gendered-based violence in the lives of their employees,” the GVRN says.

“We offer a suite of services including face-to-face and online training, webinars and new online short courses.”

GVRN says training makes for safer workplaces, helps protect and retain staff, reduces costs and maintains productivity.

The contract with GVRN is worth $46,000.

Original Article published by Ian Bushnell on Riotact.

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