How does a large retail organisation tackle Domestic Violence

October 22, 2018

The upcoming 2018 STOP Domestic Violence Conference will be held at QT, Gold Coast over 3 and 4 December with optional workshops on 5 December. 

Joining us at the conference is Mrs Michelle Dormer, Head of Culture & People – Supermarkets & Logistics with Woolworths New Zealand Limited who will present on ‘How does a large retail organisation tackle Domestic Violence’.


Providing a supportive and safe working environment, and policies that help to deliver that, ensures the team at Countdown can thrive at work and at home. As one of the first employers in NZ to introduce a family/domestic violence policy and become White Ribbon Accredited demonstrates our ongoing commitment to safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our team and addressing a serious social and pervasive issue.

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I want to showcase and talk through in detail the work our business has done in implementing a very impressive family/domestic violence prevention plan and rollout. We have been meticulously working on this complicated issue away from the limelight, in order to ensure the framework was well organised and could be enacted across the whole business operation. The training started with the Executive team and continued across all leaders, managers and general team.

Our planning ensured that we were able to train teams throughout the whole of the New Zealand operation. This includes the support offices, logistics and the supermarket stores. We carefully selected 35 trainers across the country and over 2,000 of our team having attended awareness sessions to understand family violence/harm, and to better identify behaviour that indicates people are experiencing family violence, in order be in a position to support those survivors.

Countdown has put in place an exceptional set of policies, and backed these up with a structure that is both accessible and effective. Management have ensured that the policies have been acted upon, and brought about a significant change in the organisation. We have successfully raised awareness, and then ensured staff take action with the support of management. We want our message to motivate other organisations to follow this exceptional example set by Countdown.


Michelle Dormer is the Head of Culture & People for Countdown Supermarkets and Logistics at Woolworths NZ. Woolworths NZ Ltd. owns and operates 182 Countdown supermarkets across the country with approx. 18,500 team. Michelle is a passionate retailer having worked in Retail for over 35 years, she has had experience in frontline roles within a supermarket, before progressing into HR over 20 years ago, having held various roles HR throughout this time. Michelle has led the creation and implementation of Countdown’s Family Violence policy as well as awareness training across the total organisation.

For further information and to book tickets for the 2018 STOP Domestic Violence Conference please visit