A Human Resource reflection
Recognising the need to adopt a formal Family and Sexual Violence (FSV) framework, Pansy Taueni-Sialis, HR Manager for Oil Search Ltd further details how Bel Isi has assisted Oil Search in supporting employees who are FSV survivors of FSV.
What was the driving motivation for Oil Search Foundation (OSF) and Oil Search Limited (OSL) to become a subscriber of Bel isi PNG?
Family and sexual violence (FSV) is a very serious issue that Oil Search recognised and wanted to address. For us, it was about wanting to make a difference. Not only within the workplace but within the community at large.
How has Bel Isi PNG been able to assist the employees of Oil Search?
Prior to being a subscriber to the Bel Isi PNG program our approach to assisting survivors of FSV was a little haphazard. We certainly had a framework in place, but it was not as simple and integrated as the Bel isi PNG framework. Since becoming a subscriber, Bel Isi PNG has enabled us to effectively assist our staff members straight away by providing a one stop solution to an integrated network of legal, case management, health and infrastructure including a safe house.
How has Bel Isi PNG been able to assist you as HR Manager of Oil Search?
Bel Isi PNG’s logo is underpinned by the motto “Better lives. Better business.” Oil Search wanted to be part of an initiative which supported this mandate; recognizing the two go hand in hand.
People understand the damages FSV can have to people’s lives but many, including Oil Search, were surprised to receive the data concerning the affects and damages FSV can have on business. Indeed, FSV can have drastic impacts on a company’s bottom line with absenteeism, reduction of productivity and work safety accidents.
Since becoming a subscriber, we have seen first-hand the difference this initiative has had on our employee’s lives. One of the most reassuring aspects is seeing the employee still at work, which provides that security and economic empowerment to the individual and puts them in a position whereby they do not have to rely financially on others.
To change behaviours, one must break the ‘cycle’. How does this apply to Oil Search and being a subscriber of Bel Isi PNG?
In situations of FSV, return to work and employee retention is at risk. We have seen in the media the worst cases where people lost their lives because of violence at home. This is unacceptable and we knew as an organisation we had to do something to help our employees and to help break the cycle.
Not being able to access the right services and resources continues to contribute to the problem. For us, subscribing to Bel Isi PNG was about providing options to staff to help support them to break this cycle.
What are the misconceptions surrounding FSV?
There is a natural bias which assumes woman from low socio-economic backgrounds are the ones predominately experiencing FSV. This is an incorrect assumption. FSV affects all levels of society and also all genders. Indeed, females experience a higher incidence of it occurring, however males too are subjected and thus both genders need the support systems in place.
Does Bel isi PNG fit into the policy framework of Oil Search in terms of dealing with FSV or DV?
OSL does not tolerate any form of violence. This is why we are a driving force behind supporting those who have been exposed to violence as well as providing the tools for prevention.
We are in the process of operationalizing a policy which will more formally address these tools for prevention plus provide survivors with access to resources to further assist them. For example, transport reimbursements for those who need to access support services such as the police station, hospitals etc and who may not have the available funds to do so. Furthermore, and most importantly, the policy includes access to leave for FSV situations.
How would you encourage other organizations to act/respond?
For organizations who are still on the fence on whether they should be a subscriber, we’ve seen it work first hand.