Domestic and family violence

The University of Newcastle recognises that staff members may experience situations of violence or abuse in their personal life that impact on all aspects of their life including their attendance or performance at work. The University is committed to providing support to staff members who experience domestic and family violence (DFV).

Domestic and family violence refers to acts of violence that occur within a household or between family members including current or former partners in an intimate relationship. There are many types of domestic and family violence including violent, abusive or intimidating behaviour by a partner, carer or family member to control, dominate or cause fear. It doesn’t have to be physical abuse. It can be emotional, psychological, financial, sexual or other types of abuse.

It can affect anyone in the community, regardless of gender, sexual identity, race, age, culture, ethnicity, religion, disability, economic status or location.

Free confidential counselling is available for staff and their immediate family experiencing domestic and family violence. This can be accessed via the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Where a staff member is experiencing domestic and family violence, the University will provide access to:

  1. Personal Leave for medical appointments, legal proceedings and other related activities;
  2. Flexible work arrangements including changes to working times or duties, consistent with the reasonable operational needs of the work unit;
  3. Changes of work location, telephone number or email address to avoid harassing contact.

A staff member who supports an immediate family member/member of the household experiencing domestic and family violence may take carer’s leave to accompany them to court, hospital or provide care for children while the person being supported attends these appointments.

What to do if someone makes a disclosure to you - How to respond sensitively and safely

It takes a lot of courage to disclose an experience of domestic or family violence. Believing them and responding sensitively can make a real difference to someone's wellbeing and how they approach their situation. If someone discloses violence to you, they are showing enormous trust in you. It is important to show respect and maintain this trust.

The best thing to do is to respond sensitively and refer the person on to specialist services. You can do this by:

  • Taking time, listening to their story and validating them
  • Making sure they have privacy to be able to tell their story. If possible take them to a quiet room, where they will be able to talk more freely
  • Not asking too many questions about what has happened — this can be intrusive and re-traumatising
  • Not arguing with them or pushing them to leave their situation or take action
  • Respecting their right to have control over what they say and the actions they want to take
  • Asking about what support they have to help them at the moment and encouraging them to seek further support
  • Referring them on to specialist support – see Support & Resources section below

Self-Care following a disclosure


It can be difficult hearing about a person’s experience of violence. After hearing their story, take time to observe your own feelings and look after yourself. Access free confidential counselling via the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Domestic and Family Violence NSW Resources
If you’re a survivor/victim of domestic and family violence, there is help available. Protect yourself when using this website and stay safe online by taking precautions such as deleting your internet history.

Follow this link for services and resources to get HELP

Victims' Services
NSW Department of Justice Victims Services provide support services, including free counselling and financial assistance to victims of crime. Victims have rights which are set out in the Charter of Victims' Rights, which includes the right to be treated with courtesy, compassion and respect. In this section, find out about support services for children, victims of sexual assault and other crimes, and families and friends of missing persons.

You can also find out more about victims rights and how to get support throughout the justice system.

  • Victims' Access Line: 1800 633 063
  • Aboriginal Contact Line: 1800 019 123

ACON
Is an LGBTI health organisation offering information, referrals, counselling, advocacy and practical support for LGBTI people in NSW experiencing domestic and family violence.

  • Hunter, New England, Central Coast & Central West: 02 4962 7700
  • Sydney: 02 9206 2000
  • Northern Rivers: 02 6622 1555
  • Mid-North Coast: 02 6651 6017
  • Southern, Far West & Blue Mountains: 1800 063 060, 02 9206 2114

Esafety for women
A resource from the Office of the eSafety Commissioner to help woman manage technology risks and abuse by giving them the tools they need to be confident when online.

Lifeline – available 24/7

MensLine Australia – available 24/7

  • 1300 78 99 78

Translating and Interpreting Service

  • 131 450