Making workplaces
and places of business domestic violence free

A DVFREE workplace is one where:

  • 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

  • a best practice workplace response to domestic violence exceeds legal obligations under the Domestic Violence – Victims Protection Act 2018 and other laws

A DVFREE place of business, or customer approach, is one where customers experiencing domestic violence:

  • are treated with dignity and empathy, while prioritising their safety and privacy

  • receive extra care where their experience of domestic violence impacts on their experience as a customer

  • receive information about specialist services in the community

The DVFREE Tick is a mark of confidence that an employer has taken meaningful steps to achieve the goals of a DVFREE workplace. The essential recommendations in the Guidelines to a DVFREE workplace are the basis of the criteria for the DVFREE Tick. Following the Guidelines’ recommendations can also build a good foundation for a DVFREE customer approach.

DVFREE Guidelines for Policy & Procedures

The DVFREE Guidelines provide recommendations for employers that go above and beyond employers' legal obligations under the Domestic Violence Victims Protection Act 2018 and other relevant laws. These recommendations help employers to achieve a sustainable, best practice workplace response to domestic violence. 

DVFREE services and resources, including consultation and training that will help you create a DVFREE workplace, can be provided separately or as part of the DVFREE Tick programme, and include a number of free resources, such as our free workplace online learning module.

DVFREE services can also help you create a DVFREE place of business. A growing number of businesses, especially in the financial sector, want to improve their response to customers who experience domestic violence. Read more about meeting the needs of your customers who experience domestic violence

DVFREE is brought to you by Shine, a highly reputable specialist domestic violence service provider that has been helping people who experience domestic violence to become safe since 1990. All profits from DVFREE service fees support Shine’s frontline services, directly supporting adults and children who experience domestic violence as well as supporting change for adults who perpetrate domestic violence. There is always a pressing need for more resource for these services.

Subscribe to our DVFREE e-news below for updates and ideas for your staff domestic violence programme.


Brought to you by


Endorsed by

Women's Refuge


The DVFREE Tick has been awarded to these employers, with many more on the way.

AA Insurance
Callaghan Innovations
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Why support employees experiencing domestic violence?
Why support customers who experience domestic violence?

Social Responsibility

Be a responsible employer/business: This means proactively contributing to making NZ workplaces and communities safer and more inclusive.

  • 1 in 3 NZ women are physically or sexually abused by an intimate partner in their lifetime (Fanslow & Robinson, 2004)
  • Intimate partner violence rates are similar or higher for people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (Walters et al, 2013) (Pitts et al, 2012)
  • A responsible employer supports safety and wellbeing for employees experiencing domestic violence and provides accountability for employees perpetrating work-related domestic violence
  • A responsible business takes meaningful steps to support safety and wellbeing, and provides extra care, for customers experiencing domestic violence
  • A responsible employer/business creates an inclusive culture, by helping to change harmful beliefs and attitudes that underpin the NZ domestic violence epidemic

Employee Safety & Wellbeing

  • Concern for the safety and wellbeing of their staff is the number one reason why employers engage with DVFREE.
  • Domestic violence has a significant impact on the NZ workforce – in often hidden ways it seriously impacts on the safety and wellbeing of employees, on co-workers and colleagues, and on employees with someone close to them experiencing it. 
  • Employees perpetrating domestic violence may misuse organisational resources, and put the reputation of their employer and customer relationships at risk. Their behaviour may also impact on their own safety and wellbeing. 
  • Employees may be unsafe or distressed as a result of witnessing or knowing about domestic violence involving staff or customers.
  • A worker’s right to be safe from violence in the workplace, including domestic violence, is recognised internationally by the ILO (International Labour Organisation) in Convention No.190 ‘Eliminating Violence and Harassment in the World of Work’ (2019).

Legal Obligations & Productivity

  • Read more about employer’s legal obligations and how they compare to DVFREE recommendations
  • NZ employers are required by law to provide domestic violence leave and flexible working and must not discriminate against employees impacted by domestic violence 
  • NZ employers must proactively identify risks to physical and mental health and safety, and do what is reasonably practicable to eliminate or minimise risks
  • NZ financial institutions are required to demonstrate how they meet the needs of customers experiencing vulnerability – including customers experiencing domestic violence
  • Domestic violence was estimated to cost employers $368 million per year in lost productivity in 2014

Read More
“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.”