Staying safe at work

Workplaces have a duty to ensure health and safety. Workers also have a duty to take reasonable 
care to protect their own safety. Check your Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) policies: most
workplaces have one.

Your workplace may also have a policy on workplace violence or harassment. Ask your OHS officer, HR person or manager for the policies.

Talk to your workplace about what it can do to assist you to be safe and keep doing your job. Safety 
planning can include things like: 

  • Having someone walk you to your car or transport when you leave work
  • Asking your workplace to notify relevant staff not to tell anyone private information about your 
    location or movements
  • Making sure you're not left alone at a work location with public access
  • Providing a photo of the abusive person to front desk staff, so that they can identify them and call the police if necessary

For more information see Workplace Guide Domestic Violence Safety Planning on page 10 in Domestic Violence and the Workplace: Employee, Employer and Union Resources.

Getting a domestic violence protection order

Domestic violence is about power and control. Keeping your job and your home is about keeping control over your life. Getting a protection order will help to keep you safe in your home and your workplace. The police can help you to get a protection order.

Generally, a protection order is an order made by a court (or police in some states), restricting the 
abusive person’s behaviour, helping you to feel safe. 

It does not give the abusive person a criminal record unless they breach it and it doesn’t mean you 
have to end your relationship.

The order can stop the abusive person contacting you and coming to your home address and/or your workplace.

Once you get a protection order

Give a copy to your workplace. Remember, you should tell your workplace if you think there is any 
safety risk to you or others at work. 

Report any breaches of the protection order to the police straight away.

For information about how to keep your protection order useful and strong see Just a piece of paper? Making your AVO work for you. Note that this resource was produced in NSW, however its advice is useful wherever you live in Australia.

Keep records

Make a record of how the domestic violence is affecting you at work: dates, times, details (where, 
what happened, what was said, any witnesses).  

This will help you to report any incidents to the police and provide evidence to a court if necessary.

If you report a breach of protection order, remember to ask the police for the incident number and 
write it down. 

Abusive calls, texts and emails

A supportive workplace can assist in protecting you from abusive calls and emails. Your workplace may 
already have policies and procedures on this. Options include: 

  • Report calls or text messages containing threats of harm to the police (and workplace security) immediately. Note teh time, date, length and content.
  • Screen calls and voicemail - can someone else answer your phone?
  • Block or divert emails so you don’t have to see them. Some email software (such as
    Outlook) allows you 'create rules' to automatically divert or block emails from any email address. 
  • Notify the abusive person's workplace if they are harassing you from their workplace as they are misusing work time/resources.

Don’t respond to abusive messages from your work email account or phone. This could be a breach of your work contract or workplace communications policy. 

Again, it’s important to keep good records of any abusive phone calls, text messages or emails. 

  • Save abusive emails and text messages.
  • Save and print out copies of facebook conversations (in case the sender deletes their account). 
  • Police can trace calls and order phone records.

This will assist with applying for a protection order. Alternatively, if you already have a protection order
in place, it could be used as evidence for a criminal charge of breach protection order.

*The basic legal/industrial information provided on this page is intended as a guide only: if you have a workplace issue, you should get professional advice about your individual situation. This information is current as at August 2012.