DVFREE Tick

The DVFREE Tick is a mark of confidence that an employer has taken meaningful steps to achieve goals of a DVFREE workplace:

  • staff experiencing domestic violence feel safe and supported
  • all staff know how to support colleagues affected by domestic violence
  • domestic violence is not OK; work-related domestic violence is not tolerated
  • legal obligations under the Domestic Violence – Victims Protection Act 2018 are met and exceeded with a best practice workplace response to domestic violence

Contact us for more information. You can request a list of referees from DVFREE Tick accredited organisations who can share their experience of going through this process with you.

The basis of the criteria for the DVFREE Tick are the essential recommendations within the Guidelines for a DVFREE Workplace Programme.

In addition to the Guidelines’ essential recommendations, DVFREE Tick training requirements are as follows:

  • Your First Responders must participate in DVFREE initial First Responder training and annual refresher training
  • All of your managers with direct reports must participate in DVFREE Manager training. While we understand this is a significant commitment of time and resource, manager training is critical to ensuring a safe and supportive response for employees who experience domestic violence.
    • The DVFREE Tick requires 90% of an organisation’s managers to attend training, and bi-annual refresher training. DVFREE can provide Tick partners with access to an online refresher training option for alternating refresher trainings, so that managers may only attend in-person training every 4 years.
    • Organisations with more than 500 employees and sites is multiple regions may negotiated for a requirement of 70% of managers receiving training.
    • Employers with more than 500 employees may attain the manager training requirement in milestones over several years:
    • A training plan with budget approval to meet milestone requirements in future years is required for the initial DVFREE Tick
    • In the first year after initial DVFREE Tick, at least 30% of managers trained
    • In the second year, at least 60% of managers trained
    • In the third year, at least 90% (or 70% if negotiated as above) of managers trained, from this point onwards

NOTE: DVFREE Tick partner organisations may opt to have DVFREE train and accredit an internal trainer(s) to deliver DVFREE manager training internally. Please contact us to enquire about fees and process for this option.

The DVFREE Tick criteria requires going above and beyond employers’ legal obligations under the Domestic Violence – Victims Protection Act 2018 and other relevant laws. See a high level comparison of legal vs DVFREE Tick requirements.

The DVFREE Tick offers public recognition for a best practice employer approach to domestic violence. But it is more than that.

As a DVFREE Tick partner, your organisation provides leadership for the employment sector. This partnership with Shine also helps your organisation and the wider sector in the longer term, by helping us learn from your experience so we can continually improve DVFREE recommendations and services.

The process of working towards the DVFREE Tick officially starts once you sign a DVFREE Tick Agreement and pay your initial DVFREE Tick fee. After that, we will support you at your pace to meet the DVFREE Tick criteria over a period of up to one year. Some partners have achieved the DVFREE Tick within several months, while the average time for this is closer to six months.

Organisations may do these steps in a slightly different order, but broadly, the steps that are required are as follows:

  1. Create or revise your domestic/family violence policy and procedures to meet DVFREE Tick requirements. You will also need to update or create other policies, procedures and documentation required by the DVFREE Tick criteria. If your organisation has a detailed domestic/family violence policy, this may be mostly to ensure that other relevant policies align with your domestic/family violence policy (e.g. your leave policy updated to include domestic violence leave).
  2. Recruit and appoint First Responders, book your First Responder training, and plan ongoing support for First Responders. There’s an option for a Shine expert to participate in quarterly First Responder peer support meetings, which is one good way to ensure your First Responders are - and feel - well-supported.
  3. Draft your domestic/family violence information for staff to meet DVFREE Tick requirements, especially including a definition of domestic/family violence and help-seeking pathways. Most employers make this information accessible as a page on their intranet.
  4. Plan your staff awareness raising strategy – you can utilise Shine’s free online learning module for this purpose, create your own learning module, and/or plan other creative ways of raising awareness amongst staff about domestic violence and your help-seeking pathways.
  5. Create a statement from leadership (ideally your CEO or most senior leader) that supports your staff domestic violence programme. We can provide examples of these.
  6. Plan your manager training rollout. See the DVFREE TICK CRITERIA for details about manager training requirements.

Once you sign your DVFREE Tick Agreement, we can also provide some additional resources that can help get you started, such as leadership statement examples, a co-branded poster template, a sample Workplace Safety Planning tool, etc.

Your DVFREE Tick fee pays for all the support needed to achieve the DVFREE Tick, except for manager training (unless you are a small employer). Specifically, it includes:

  • Consultation to review written documents required by the DVFREE Tick (policy, procedures, staff information)
  • One inhouse group training for your First Responders (20 max)
  • Option to upload the DVFREE online workplace learning module files, and DVFREE pre-training learning (for First Responder and Manager training) module files, onto your Learning Management System
  • Auditing your organisation for the DVFREE Tick
  • Once you are provided DVFREE Tick accreditation, the right to use DVFREE Trademarks for one year (after that is dependent on maintaining/renewing your DVFREE Tick)

The DVFREE Tick fee includes manager training for small employers with less than 50 staff.

For employers with more than 50 staff, the DVFREE Tick fee does not pay for manager training, which is required for the DVFREE Tick. See the DVFREE TICK CRITERIA above for more detail.

DVFREE Tick partners have the option of DVFREE accrediting your internal trainer(s) to deliver DVFREE Manager training within your organisation, which is a more cost-effective and sustainable approach for larger employers.

After being awarded the DVFREE Tick, there is a two-yearly renewal cycle, with ongoing requirements for maintaining and renewing your organisation’s DVFREE Tick. For the most part, this involves continuing to meet DVFREE Tick training requirements.

There is also a bi-annual audit to ensure your organisation continues to meet all other criteria. We update the DVFREE Tick criteria from time to time as we learn about what works and in response to changes in the legislative environment, etc. We will update you with any changes to the DVFREE Tick criteria that may require action on your part. Otherwise, the renewal audit process is likely to mostly involve confirming that the evidence provided for your initial DVFREE Tick is still current, or providing us with any updates to relevant documents.

The DVFREE Tick renewal fee covers all support needed to maintain/renew your DVFREE Tick, except manager training (unless you are a small employer). The DVFREE Tick Renewal fee includes:

  • Consultation to review any new or updated documents required by the DVFREE Tick requirements
  • One inhouse group training (or refresher training, or combined refresher and new) for your First Responders per year (max 20)
  • Any updates to the DVFREE online workplace learning module files and DVFREE pre-training learning (for First Responder and Manager training) module files if you have these on your Learning Management System
  • Option for a DVFREE expert to participate quarterly in your First Responder peer support meetings to help with specialist input and feedback, or provide and/or lead discussion on workplace domestic violence scenarios
  • A bi-annual renewal audit in the last half of the second year of the renewal period
  • If your DVFREE Tick accreditation is renewed, the right to use DVFREE Trademarks for one year after your accreditation (beyond one year is subject to maintaining/renewing your DVFREE Tick)

The DVFREE Tick Renewal fee includes manager training for small employers.

The DVFREE Tick requires that managers attend initial training and bi-annual refresher training. For the first and then alternating manager refresher training, one option is for managers to complete the DVFREE online manager refresher training module.

Adrienne had worked for a large organisation for many years. She had been physically and emotionally abused by her husband for 20 years. He worked in the same complex, in a different department. She finally decided to leave. She knew about her employer’s domestic violence policy, so she talked to HR about her situation, knowing that she would be supported. HR referred her to the Shine Helpline, and immediately put in place a security plan. Her husband’s boss also instructed him that if he entered her department, he would potentially face instant dismissal. With support from her employer and from Shine, Adrienne managed to leave her husband and stay safe.

Jason worked as a waiter. His boyfriend became increasingly abusive after they moved in together. He beat up Jason on a regular basis, and left bruises where no one could see them. Jason rang Shine’s Helpline for support because his boyfriend was harassing him at work and he was in danger of losing his job. His boyfriend started by texting 20-30 times a day. After a few days, Jason stopped responding to every text, and his boyfriend began ringing 15-20 times a night. 

Other co-workers had to pick up the slack every time he took a call. Jason’s boyfriend occasionally came into the restaurant and sat at the bar keeping an eye on him, and once followed him into the kitchen to loudly accuse him of flirting with another employee. Jason’s boss told him that he needed to get his partner under control or risk losing his job. Jason was too ashamed to tell his boss what was going on at home, and thought his boss would not be supportive even if he told him. Although Shine was able to support Jason to leave his partner, the abuse at his workplace continued and some months later he was fired.

Anna was a highly skilled worker who got on well with her patients and colleagues, where she’d worked for 15 years. She began dating and moved in with a co-worker who soon became jealous, possessive and violent. Her boyfriend checked up on her at work throughout the day. She began coming in late or not at all. She was often preoccupied and forgetful. She was too ashamed to tell anyone what was going on, and feared she wouldn’t be believed. Her boss told her he didn’t want to lose her experience, but if she couldn’t improve her performance he would have to take action. This caused Anna greater stress and anxiety.

Eventually Anna was injured by her boyfriend, ended up in hospital and was referred to Shine. Shine helped Anna leave her boyfriend safely, but she felt terrified at work, never knowing when he would appear. Shine eventually helped Anne to relocate, which meant leaving her job. If she had been supported by her employer and kept safe at work, Anna may have found the strength to leave sooner, avoid injuries and an enormous amount of stress and trauma. She may have been able to keep her job and the organisation would have kept a highly skilled and experienced worker.

The manager of retail business got in touch with Shine to discuss his concerns that a valued employee was being abused and he didn’t know how to help. With coaching from Shine, he raised the issue with Donna, and offered to support her. He brought Donna to Shine where she shared her fear of leaving her partner because of his threats to kill her. Shine and her boss helped Donna put in place a number of safety strategies, including getting a Protection Order, serving her partner with a Trespass Notice for the workplace, moving her temporarily from front desk duties, making a photo of her partner available to her workmates so they could warn her if he came to the office, and accompanying her to and from her car.

The partner was arrested and released on bail. He was later arrested again, once for breaching the Trespass Notice when he was observed by a staff member. He finally left her alone after finding that she was no longer vulnerable to his abuse. Donna is still in the job that she loves, and her boss has a staff member who is more loyal and committed than ever.

Janine’s relationship was great for two years. Then he went away on an exciting work project, began drinking and calling her all hours of the night. He was bipolar and still in a manic phase when he returned and began abusing her. One day he beat her badly. She rang police, he was arrested, and Shine began supporting her. She was in a senior work role and parenting two teenagers. In the months before the court hearing, he kept contacting her. He’d say things from ‘I love you, I’m so sorry’ to ‘It’s your fault I lost my son and I’ll kill myself.’ He attempted suicide three times. Police said he would likely go to prison. She felt guilty and wanted to withdraw charges.

Janine told her managing director what was happening. “If my partner was dying of cancer, there would have been some understanding. But my managers were uncomfortable with what I was going through and didn’t want to know. When my ex died in an accident, they couldn’t understand why I was grieving.” Suffering from depression, she went to three EAP sessions, but talking to Shine was more helpful. They reinforced what she needed to hear - that his situation wasn’t her fault, and his abuse was not okay. These messages and Shine’s referral to a good lawyer helped her get through, become stronger, and eventually find a new job with a more supportive employer.

As a victim of violence in the home, Rebecca found it difficult to get time off work while she was going through the process of leaving her abusive husband and trying to provide adequate support for her two young children through that difficult time. People in her workplace didn't understand what she was going through and saw her as an unreliable, emotional wreck. After many years of abuse, Rebecca finally left her husband with help from Shine.

According to Rebecca, “If my work had supported me through that time and given me paid leave when I needed it to deal with what was going on, I would have been in a better frame of mind and more focused on my job while I was at work. Instead, I made a lot of mistakes at work and wasn’t a very happy person to be around. A lot of things happened outside work, leaving my children and me mentally scarred because I didn’t have enough time and energy to get things sorted with our safety planning.”

Zac started his new reception job the same day he broke off his relationship with Anton. Two days later, Anton was out in front of Zac’s office, watching him. He was there all week. Workmates started noticing. Zac was embarrassed and anxious. Zac finally went out to talk to Anton – ending up with Anton shouting at and threatening him. Zac came inside feeling humiliated. His manager asked him to come in her office. Zac was scared he would get a warning or lose his job.

Instead, Lori asked him how he was feeling. She’d seen the man outside shouting and was concerned for Zac’s safety. She reminded him about their domestic violence policy and that he had a right to be safe. She offered to help him with a workplace safety plan and to have him ring Shine for help to deal with Anton outside work. With a trespass order, a temporary shift of desk and some other support strategies, the stalking ended and Zac felt very grateful.