Making the workplace domestic violence free

The DVFREE Tick is a mark of confidence that an employer has taken meaningful steps to create a domestic violence-free workplace,
in other words, a workplace that is safe and supportive for staff experiencing domestic violence, and that does not tolerate staff using work time or resources to perpetrate domestic abuse.
The DVFREE Tick is given by Shine, a highly reputable specialist domestic abuse service provider that has been helping victims of domestic abuse to become safe since 1990.

How the DVFREE Tick Works

DVFREE offers a range of services that can be accessed as part of the DVFREE Tick or independently, from consulting on policy development and awareness raising activity, to training for your staff.

DVFREE Assists with Policy, Training and new legislative requirements

DVFREE Guidelines for Policy & ProceduresOur DVFREE Guidelines on Policy and Procedures provide detailed and comprehensive recommendations - a good starting point for any employer. The Guidelines also outline criteria for the DVFREE Tick and will soon include new legislative requirements coming into force April 2019. Purchase of the Guidelines includes two hours of consultation with a Shine expert. (Click here to purchase through webshop.)

Some employers have developed policy on their own, or with guidance from others who are not domestic violence specialists, with mixed results. People often assume knowledge of domestic violence from reading a policy, or from personal or anecdotal experience. There is a significant difference in skill between informal assumptions and those who have experience, training, and support from working within a specialist domestic violence agency like Shine.

DVFREE – including our DVFREE Guidelines on Policy and Procedures and our expert consultation and training - will support you to create policy and procedures that help staff experiencing domestic violence to feel safe enough to get help. DVFREE will help your leaders know how to manage staff who perpetrate domestic violence. DVFREE will help all of your staff know what to do if they know or suspect one of their colleagues is experiencing or perpetrating domestic violence. Finally, DVFREE will help you prepare for new legislative requirements.

Access the online learning module about domestic violence and the workplace

Westpac Bank and Shine collaborated to create this learning module to help New Zealanders better understand domestic violence and how it impacts on the workplace. It also shows how to help colleagues who are experiencing, or perpetrating, domestic violence. This module is free to access through Shine’s website and takes about one hour to complete.


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Health and Safety

“Fear, fatigue, and other responses to domestic violence can cause hazardous behaviour by some workers…We encourage the ministry, businesses, and regulators to mitigate the effects of domestic violence on work health and safety.” (from the Health and Safety Act 2015 Commentary)

In more serious cases, staff experiencing domestic violence are at risk of injury and death. Co-workers may also be at risk of violence from an abuser who comes to the victim’s workplace.

Improve Productivity

Domestic violence costs employers $368 million annually, due to lost productivity (Kahui, Ku, Snively, 2014). Staff experiencing domestic violence may:

  • Be depressed, anxious or distracted.
  • Take time off work or leave work altogether.
  • Have their ability to work sabotaged.

Co-workers may provide cover, spent work time trying to help, or feel distracted or anxious worrying about their colleague. Abusers on staff may take work time or use work resources to perpetrate abuse.

Social Responsibility

Domestic violence is a NZ epidemic:

  • 1 in 3 NZ women are physically or sexually abused by a partner/ex-partner in their lifetime.
  • Rates of intimate partner violence for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) couples are as high as for heterosexual couples. Every 5 minutes, NZ Police respond to a domestic violence situation.
  • Half of all NZ murders are domestic related.

Employers can play a key role helping victims be safe, holding abusers accountable, and speaking out on the issue to help move our society towards a zero tolerance of family violence.

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“The model we have developed with Shine has given our managers tools to deal with some of the issues faced by our people. The systems we have put in place are already working." The Ministry of Justice was the first state sector agency awarded the DVFREE Tick. CE Andrew Bridgman urged other public sector organisations to follow its lead.
“As a large employer, we believe we can assist our staff and the broader community in relation to DVFree. Our focus has been to create greater staff awareness around domestic violence – not just physical but also psychological violence.”
"It is our duty as a responsible employer to ensure our people feel safe and supported at work. Shine’s DVFREE programme has given us the knowledge and tools to be confident in how we respond to any of our people who experience domestic violence.”
“The expertise of Shine trainers made them valuable partners with us in implementing the University of Auckland’s family violence project. Participants evaluate Shine’s engaging and professional presentation highly.”
“This initiative is about making family violence OK to talk about within our organisation and ensuring our people know help is readily available if needed... Careful handling of the first contact from a victim when they seek help is critical so we’re grateful for the support of Shine who have advised us on policy and provided workplace support training to some of our employees across the country."
“A colleague had a staff member with performance issues recently, and it transpired she was experiencing domestic violence at home. I suggested he give Shine a call for advice on support for her. Your Helpline was amazing, and my colleague came away inspired and fired up to assist.”