Safe Exit

Whatever difficult life experience a person is going through, a supportive conversation is a good starting place.  This is also true for economic harm.

The best person to have a supportive conversation with is someone the staff member trusts and feels safe with. The wrong person could make matters worse or leave the staff member feeling vulnerable.

For a variety of reasons, staff members don’t always feel comfortable opening up to their line manager. You may want to encourage staff to speak to anyone in your management or people and culture teams with whom they feel comfortable.

These are things to consider if a staff member wants to discuss family violence or economic harm:

Having a Supportive Conversation

Having a Supportive Conversation

Whatever difficult life experience a person is going through, a supportive conversation is a good starting place.  This is also true for economic harm.

The best person to have a supportive conversation with is someone the staff member trusts and feels safe with. The wrong person could make matters worse or leave the staff member feeling vulnerable.

For a variety of reasons, staff members don’t always feel comfortable opening up to their line manager. You may want to encourage staff to speak to anyone in your management or people and culture teams with whom they feel comfortable.

These are things to consider if a staff member wants to discuss family violence or economic harm:

Provide a safe and private space to talk
There may be more occurring in the background than you are aware. Just like in a medical situation, it’s important to determine if an urgent response is required. It is not your job to work this out alone. However simply asking if the person feels an immediate response is needed will be enough to open up the conversation.
Offer any additional workplace support that can be made available - such as counselling or loan services
Discuss who else on staff would need to know the situation to implement these entitlements - such as payroll, HR or senior management
Take steps to make sure all disclosures and activities are kept confidential to the rest of the team by limiting access to staff files
Provide information on external support - such as specialist services
Make a plan together including regular catchups during the next few days, weeks or months
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  • Provide a safe and private space to talk
  • There may be more occurring in the background than you are aware. Just like in a medical situation, it’s important to determine if an urgent response is required. It is not your job to work this out alone. However simply asking if the person feels an immediate response is needed will be enough to open up the conversation.
  • Discuss workplace entitlements and any safety measures that can be implemented – such as screening calls, blocking emails, changing work hours or location, making time to get banking sorted or walking them to their car
  • Offer any additional workplace support that can be made available – such as counselling or loan services
  • Discuss who else on staff would need to know the situation to implement these entitlements – such as payroll, HR or senior management 
  • Take steps to make sure all disclosures and activities are kept confidential to the rest of the team by limiting access to staff files
  • Provide information on external support – such as specialist services
  • Make a plan together including regular catchups during the next few days, weeks or months

Tips for having a conversation

Having delicate and emotional conversations with employees requires a careful and considered approach.

You need to listen and speak in a way that is clear, respectful, empathetic and non-judgemental.

It is important to explain confidentiality about expectations and limits, whilst acknowledging what is happening is not their fault, that they are not alone and there are ways to get through.

Remember:

People experiencing abuse are not always ready to seek support and may only be ready to disclose part of their situation. 

Once they are aware help is available, they may choose to approach you at some other time or seek support when they are ready.

It is important to let them know this is okay.

In some cases, the staff member may already have a significant support person in their life that they can talk to.

Or they could be already working with a service or already have a plan in place.

Wherever the conversation leads, be careful to listen openly and not to force your own agenda due to fear or uncertainty.

It’s not always possible to gather all the information or solve someone else’s problems. Remember we are all experts in our own lives and it’s important to trust that the person knows their situation best.

 

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