Safe Space Workplace Toolkit

Safe Space  Workplace guides companies through the process of development, customisation and implementation of domestic violence support programs from start to finish.

 Creating a Safe Space

The world is changing fast and the workplace is no longer separate from the other areas of employee’s lives. Employers that wish to hire and retain the best employees are going to be the ones who offer a safe, diverse and inclusive environment for its people.

Climate change is making people feel insecure about the future and the recent severe bushfires and weather conditions have increased stress across Australia. These issues of insecurity increase the cases of domestic family violence (DFV) increase. At the same time Workplace Employee Abuse (WEA) that does not focus on employee safety at home and at work, will make for a toxic workplace for many.

The behaviours that make up DFV are the same as those that make up WEA. Workplaces commonly call this bullying and harassment but at Safe Workplace we know this does not cover the complexities of WEA. Both have underlying themes about power, control and coercive behavioural patterns.

The workplace must be a safe space and officers and directors have a responsibility at law to ensure this occurs. However, DFV and WEA are not yet reportable at board level. It should be.  

The workplace must be a safe space. There are legal obligations on all officer bearers to ensure policies and procedures enact this and with very stiff penalties for breaches. 

Domestic and Family Violence is an important part of workplace safety and to date training has not been adequately addressed. Safe Space Workplace fills this void and is regarded as a pioneer in this space. It is critical that your employees know how to communicate, support and hold space for those impacted the workplace really can become a safe space. Safe Space Workplace provides this skills training. All of our training is gender neutral.

With proper training in the complexities of the behaviours that make up DFV and WEA  and with a sound understanding of trauma informed practices every workplace can work to keep employees safe and contribute positively to their communities and stakeholders. 

Domestic and Family Violence is everybody’s business.



Safe Space Workplace was founded in 2015 by Lisa McAdams. Lisa knew from experience the important role workplaces and employers played in supporting someone impacted by DFV and the impact DFV was having on workplaces.

At Safe Space Workplace, our company is named purposely because for many victims of abuse the workplace is literally the only safe space they have. We believe, with proper training in the complexities of the behaviours that make up DFV and WEA delivered with a sound understanding of trauma informed practices that enables employees to communicate support and hold space for those impacted the workplace really can become a safe space and make a huge difference to the productivity and mental health/wellbeing of team members..

If your workplace has the policy, structure, support, training and skill set in place, you create a culture where employees feel safe to reach out for help. They are empowered. At the same time, you will ensure the psychological safety of the employees assisting them. And In this way, your workplace becomes part of the solution to DFV and WEA. Domestic and Family Violence is after all everybody’s business and we all have a responsibility to work towards ending this terrible violence against women and children.


Lisa McAdams created the Safe Space Workplace Toolkit from her own experiences living with years of multi-generational abuse, working in high level corporate roles and the past five years consulting and implementing training to ASX500 companies, Government Departments and NFPs in Australia and overseas.

The Safe Space Workplace Toolkit can be tailored to the unique requirements of each organisation and integrated into their existing HR policies. Working closely with our clients, Safe Space Workplace ensures the work environment is safe and responsive, and that employers and managers are empowered, confident and ‘comfortable being uncomfortable’ when talking about domestic family violence and workplace employee abuse


1)    Holistic Integration off DFV strategies into the overall framework of the workplace Diversity and Inclusion Framework.

2)    Leading the strategy for DFV Policies and Procedures creation and implementation.

3)    Supporting the workplace leaders in the implementation of their DFV framework.


Customised sessions based on workplace brief


The role of workplaces in understanding the complexities of DFV and its impact and cost on business. The businesses duty of care in providing a safe and inclusive space. How to recognise and understand the behaviours that make up DFV and WEA, spot the signs of abuse, how to communicate with empathy and the internal and external referral pathways.

Audience: Executive Leadership Team, Directors and Managers of teams, Human Resources, People & Culture and Diversity & Inclusion team members.

Workplace Liaison Support Training

Aimed at employees who have volunteered to be Workplace Liaison Support for colleagues disclosing DFV and WEA. These volunteers will be taught at the same level as Leadership but with more focus on recognising the signs, communication and referral pathways. A core focus for all  Workplace Liaison Support is self care.

Audience: Volunteers form different teams and levels throughout the workplace.

Employee Training 

This is a basic level of training to understand the complexities of DFV and behaviours that make up DFV and WEA. To have knowledge of the company policy and support structure.

Audience: All employees including contractors. Note e-learning is recommended for this training

Customer Service Training

This training equips customer facing employees whether face to face or in call centres to recognise and respond to customers. This training is tailored to the industry they work in as legislation will play a part in what your company can offer.

Audience: Leadership and Customer Service employees

Workplace Employee Abuse

There are fifteen or more behaviours that makeup Domestic Family Abuse and Bullying and Harassment are only two of them. Yet for decades we have concentrated on just these two. The abusive behaviours that are carried out in homes and the same abusive behaviours that are carried out in workplaces.

This is why at Safe Space Workplace we no longer use the term Bully and Harassment to describe abuse in the workplace. We have come up with and decided to use the term Workplace Employee Abuse.

By teaching how the behaviours play out in the workplace you empower employees with the knowledge and language to report and call out abuse in the workplace. At the same time teach employees using these behaviours that are not going to be tolerated anymore.

Knowledge is power and we can help you empower your employees to create a Safe Space. If the workplace feels psychologically unsafe then employees are never going to feel safe enough to disclose abuse in the home.

Audience: Board, C-Suite, Leaders & Manager and all employees

Book – Domestic Violence – Changing Culture Saving Lives  will help workplaces to better understand the complexities of domestic violence and the impact on their business and the role the workplace plays, so employees no longer feel out of their depth.

Poster and signage – to show your workplace is a safe space and display internal and external support pathways.


  • In the 2008/09 financial year, the cost of intimate partner violence to the Australian economy overall was estimated to be $13.6 billion.
  • If no preventative action is taken, this cost is projected to rise to $15.6 billion annually by 2021/22.
  • $456 million of this $15.6 billion will be borne by employers and $609 million will be borne in productivity losses.1

The financial impact on businesses in Australia will continue to grow and corporations need to have plans in place to address this issue, for as the stats tell us, this financial and productivity loss is going to grow if no preventative measures are taken.

This financial impact described above is only one of the issues facing corporates if no action is taken. Attracting and retaining employees is becoming increasingly about being a company that employees want to work for. Demonstration of leadership through corporate responsibility is key factor in the attraction and retention of loyal employees.


Corporations have witnessed and embraced the positive impacts of mental health and work place bullying policies. They provide the training and education needed to create an environment where real change is possible. Employees are increasingly looking to work with companies that have this nurturing and inclusive culture.

There is no denying that domestic violence has a negative effect on productivity, staff retention and ultimately the bottom line. In looking at and analysing these issues, it is time to stop and look at what this is doing to the culture of an organisation and the effects it is having on the work environment for its key players.

HR personnel, managers, and colleagues are all working under a code of silence and it is impacting their mental health and productivity. Without clear guidelines in place employees are dealing with this issue in isolation. Employees are looking to work in companies where they feel supported and are no longer willing to shoulder responsibility for issues that arise from domestic violence, in isolation.

Work and home life continue to merge, especially with the introduction of technology and flexible working conditions, and the lines are more fluid so it is no longer a case of home life being separate from corporate life. The two have become so intertwined that one will always affect the other, so this leaves corporations with the obligations to step up.

It is time to create a Safe Space Workplace and accept corporate responsibly and create not only the policies and training but also a workplace environment that says we are not going to tolerate abuse in any form in an engaged and ethical way.  


Domestic violence is prominent in both the media and in government and companies need a corporate solution to a domestic issue.

Corporations are now required by changing times to take their corporate responsibilities seriously. Safe Space Workplace knows this and also understands when it comes to incorporating domestic violence policies, companies have a responsibility to shareholders and other interested parties and any policy implemented cannot be detrimental to those interests.

Increasing productivity and improving the bottom line are important but a corporation also has a culture and its policies and strategies help to create this culture. Gen Y are becoming a growing percentage of a company’s overall staff base as the baby boomers retire. Gen Y are different – they demand an ethical workplace and do not see hierarchy in the same way as previous generations. They will not work for and carry the burden of a colleague/s dealing with the issue of domestic violence in isolation – they expect to work for a company who takes their corporate responsibilities seriously. Domestic violence is a topic that is becoming increasingly highlighted in the media and within government and early adopters of domestic violence policies will be ahead of the curve when it comes to creating a nurturing and supportive company culture.

Corporations who adopt these policies will be sending a message that they do not tolerate bullying or any form of workplace abuse. These early adopters will be seen as progressive companies and it is the progressive companies who will attract and retain key employees, a fact which will positively effect productivity and ultimately the bottom line.

Safe Space Workplace offers a complete solution as outlined below. The program can also be tailored to include components addressing specific needs or areas of Companies can also take the components separately.

  Contact Lisa McAdams to get started now

+61 488 547 230


1 National Council to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children, The Cost of Violence Against Women and Their Children (2009). Human Rights Commission

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