The purpose of this document is to outline DSH Insurance’s commitment to provide a safe and supportive service for policyholders who may be experiencing the effects of domestic and family violence.
What is domestic and family violence?
Domestic and family violence is a widespread issue, found across all genders, cultures, ages and socio economic groups. In Australian law, ‘family violence’ is defined as: “violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person’s family… or causes the family member to be fearful.” (Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), section 4AB). Domestic and family violence may include but is not limited to, physical violence, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, financial or economic abuse and damage to property.
Policyholder safety is paramount to us.
If a policyholder, a child or another person has an immediate or imminent threat to life, health or safety we have a duty of care to respond by calling emergency services (000).
DSH Insurance is committed to supporting policyholders affected by domestic and family violence and our first priority is to policyholder’s ongoing safety and wellbeing. Family and domestic violence can be traumatic and disempowering in nature; where it can be difficult to disclose details of events, actions or trauma incurred. If policyholders share this type of information with us, we will respond with compassion and sensitivity and help them make informed decisions.
Recognising the uniqueness of each person’s situation, we will adapt our approach to best meet policyholder’s individual needs and preferences. We respect their decision not to take action, provided there is no immediate or imminent threat to their safety.
Support for policyholders experiencing domestic and family violence
We provide timely, consistent and targeted assistance to those affected by domestic and family violence.
If policyholders are affected by domestic and family violence and need additional support or assistance, we will work with them in a supportive and sensitive manner.
- minimise the number of times policyholders affected by domestic and family violence need to disclose information about domestic and family violence
- where possible enable policyholders to deal with the same staff each time
- appropriately triage policyholders who are affected by domestic and family violence – including those also affected by financial hardship, and
- support staff who are affected by domestic and family violence or who experience vicarious trauma after dealing with policyholders affected by domestic and family violence.
If policyholders need support from someone else (for example, a lawyer, consumer representative, interpreter or friend), then we will work collaboratively on this. We will make sure our processes are flexible enough to make it simple to appoint an agent or representative as a support person.
If required and agreed, we can facilitate additional support which may include referral to a financial counsellor or an appropriate community support service.
Information about a policyholder’s situation will be handled with strict adherence to confidentiality similar to personal and health information. Policyholders are assured that their information is secure and not at risk of deliberate or inadvertent disclosure.
Employee policies and training
We build the skills of our staff to recognise and respond effectively to people subjected to or affected by domestic and family violence in an empathic and culturally appropriate manner.
We have internal policies to educate and increase awareness among our staff. We also conduct training appropriate to our employees’ roles, to help them to:
- identify and understand if policyholders may be vulnerable
- decide about how best, and to what extent, they can support policyholders
- take account of particular needs, vulnerability and priority, and
- engage with sensitivity, dignity, respect and compassion — this may include arranging additional support, for example referral to people, or services, with specialist training and experience.
We examine our policies and practices regularly to ensure that they are appropriate and flexible and meet the needs of people subjected to or affected by domestic and family violence.
If policyholders or someone they know is experiencing domestic and family violence, the following external services are available to provide information and assistance:
- 1800 RESPECT
24-hour hotline that provides help for any Australian who has experienced, or is at risk of, family and domestic violence and/or sexual assault.
Call 1800 737 732 (open 24hrs a day, 7 days a week).
- Open Arms Veterans & Families Counselling
Free confidential counselling, group treatment programs, suicide prevention and community and peer network to support mental health and wellbeing.
Call 1800 011 046 (open 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week).
24-hour Crisis Support and Suicide Prevention Services.
Call 13 11 14 (open 24hrs a day, 7 days a week).
- General Insurance Code of Practice. Insurance Council of Australia.2020 (PDF 5.66 MB)
- General Insurance Code of Practice. Guide to helping policyholders affected by family violence. 2020 (PDF 238 MB)