DVFREE Services

Whether you’re writing a new domestic/family violence policy, wanting some training for your HR team or managers or other key staff, or you just want to find out how your workplace or customer domestic violence response could be improved or meet legal requirements, you’ve come to the right place.

We recommend that before accessing any type of DVFREE training, you consult with our experts (see ‘Consultation’ below) to lay a solid foundation for your programme in your policy, procedures, and information for staff. These documents underpin an effective response to staff and/or customers experiencing domestic/family violence.

DVFREE trainers are based in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Outside of these locations, reimbursement for travel expenses is added to the training fee. There are some online training options available for teams outside these main city centres, or teams that are spread out amongst multiple regions where travel to train in one location would be prohibitive.

Contact us now for more information about services and fees, or to book services.

We recommend:

  • Start by going through our free Guidelines for a DVFREE Workplace Programme, which may help you identify gaps in your programme and understand how to fill those gaps. The Guidelines’ recommendations will help you meet, and go beyond, employers’ legal obligations under the Domestic Violence Victims' Protection Act and other relevant laws.
  • Use our free online workplace learning module to raise awareness amongst your staff by providing the link on your intranet, and including it in your induction for new staff. This module was created by Shine in partnership with Westpac, and updated in 2019.
  • Promote our free national Helpline to your staff – as a source of support and information for people who experience domestic violence, as well as their support people. Order free Helpline posters, cards, and pamphlets here, as well as Safer Homes booklets for a small fee to cover printing. Read the Guidelines for information about some additional national specialist domestic violence related Helplines.

As a DVFREE Tick partner, your organisation can demonstrate a best practice workplace approach. Our DVFREE Tick partners play a vital role in helping us to continually improve our understanding and approach to improving the workplace response to domestic violence. The essential recommendations in the Guidelines for a DVFREE Workplace Programme are the basis of our DVFREE Tick criteria.

DVFREE consultation and training services can be accessed as part of the DVFREE Tick or separately. Find out more about the DVFREE Tick – process and criteria.

Even if you use our Guidelines to draft or improve your domestic violence policy and procedures, you may want one of our experts to review your domestic violence policy and/or other specific materials such as the domestic violence content of your intranet or staff wellbeing guide.

We can also help by providing advice and guidance on policy and procedures for responding to your customers who experience domestic violence.

Our domestic violence experts are experienced at providing consultation and policy advice for a wide range of government/crown, business, and not-for-profit organisations.

You can purchase the first two hours of DVFREE consultation at a significant discount here.

Contact us now to discuss your consultation needs.

Workplace ‘First Responder ‘Training

First Responders are the people in your workplace who employees experiencing domestic violence can go to for help, and they can also support managers. This is a 6.5 hour long training, with required pre-learning, that helps First Responders to:

  • understand domestic violence as entrapment
  • recognise signs and respond safely and appropriately
  • provide workplace support, safety planning, and refer to specialist community support and
  • understand broadly how an employer can respond to employees who perpetrate domestic violence, and provide support to change

Contact us for more information about DVFREE First Responder training. While this training is far more effective as an in-person learning experience, we can offer an online option if it is prohibitive to bring your First Responders together for training. Please enquire about this option.

We also regularly deliver open First Responder trainings that individuals can register to attend in main centres Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and also online via Zoom. If your organisation plans to train more than five people, we strongly recommend an inhouse training; Aside from cost considerations, the training can focus on the context of your particular organisation, and can help build a stronger team. It is important for First Responders to be able to support each other, as the role can be very emotionally challenging.

Workplace Manager Training

Managers play a key role in supporting a team member who experiences domestic violence and are most likely to see the signs and be able to ask some initial questions. This is a half day training (generally 3.5 hours), with required pre-learning, that helps Managers to:

  • understand domestic violence as entrapment
  • recognise signs and respond safely and appropriately
  • provide workplace support, safety planning, and refer to specialist community support and
  • understand broadly how an employer can provide accountability and support for employees who perpetrate domestic violence

Contact us for a more in-depth overview of DVFREE Manager training. We generally only deliver Manager training to an organisation that has already trained First Responders. Read our Guidelines to understand why this is important.

Extra Care Advisor Training

An intensive 1-day training for your ‘Extra Care’ Team, i.e. your internal domestic/family violence subject matter experts. With this training for your Extra Care Team, your frontline staff can seek guidance or support from this team, or directly refer customers needing additional support to someone in-house. This training is highly interactive, so for a maximum of 20 people. We can deliver this as an online training in some circumstances. Talk to us about your situation and we will try to find a training solution to meet your needs.

Frontline Customer Training

A ½ day training for customer-facing staff to help them better understand domestic violence, know how to recognise the signs, ask the first few questions, and make an appropriate referral – both inhouse and to external specialist support. If, as a large employer, it is not feasible to provide this level of training for all of your customer facing staff, we recommend appointing ‘Family Safety Champions’ from throughout your business’s customer facing teams who can champion the issue among their peers. If you are a DVFREE Tick partner organisation, there is also the option for us to train and accredit your internal trainer to deliver this training to your customer facing staff.

Free workplace online learning module

This module called ‘Change the Ending,’ was created by Shine in partnership with Westpac, and last updated in 2019.

Awareness sessions

A Shine expert from our Training Team can speak to any size group of staff for anywhere between 30 min to 2 hours, to raise awareness about domestic violence. These sessions can help build a foundation for a domestic violence staff programme and further DVFREE training and/or can be incorporated into your existing programme as a way to raise awareness for your staff.

Be creative!

There are many ways to engage, inspire and educate staff about domestic violence.

  • Read about stories and videos you can use to raise awareness.
  • Participate in Shine’s Light it Orange campaign or a campaign run by another local or national specialist domestic violence organisation to raise funds and/or awareness.
  • If your organisation is based in one location, find out who your local domestic violence service provider is, and ask about what you can do to support their work.

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.