Protecting Employees: Rio Tinto’s new domestic violence policy

Local News

A local company is ramping up its commitment to protect employees. Thursday, Rio Tinto announced a new policy supporting staff members who are suffering through domestic violence. Kim Fischer sat down with one employee who’s also a survivor. She explains why this new policy will really help victims during their time of need.

It’s been 10 years since Julie Spencer escaped an abusive relationship, but she still vividly recalls the trauma.

“I was scared. I was fearful for my family, for our safety,” Spencer said.

She also feared she wouldn’t be able to provide for her family.

“Leaving is really hard to do. It takes a lot of energy and a lot of time and I wouldn’t be able to do it if I thought I was going to lose my job, and I thought I was going to lose my job,” she explained.

Now, thanks to a new policy, employees at Rio Tinto can remove that fear from the table.

“The intention is to create a peer support network, to create that safe environment for the victims of domestic violence who are in our workforce,” said Rio Tinto General Manager, Chris Acton.

The idea started at a Rio Tinto location in Australia. Its part of a global initiative called “White Ribbon.” the goal of the campaign is to end men’s violence against women.

“That created the momentum to deploy it across the rest of the group,” Acton said.

The new policy in Utah includes:

     – 10 days paid leave

     – Safety plans to protect at-risk employees

     – Short-term financial assistance

     – Access to 24-hour services

     – Training for Rio Tinto management

Acton said this policy was a no-brainer for the company. “We have values of safety and respect; this is right in line with those values.”

As a survivor, Spencer is excited to be a champion for her peers who may be escaping the same kind of pain she experienced 10 years ago.

“I’m very proud of Rio Tinto,” she said.

Rio Tinto is now a “White Ribbon” accredited company. To learn more about bringing the campaign to your company, click here.

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