Family and domestic violence support at Canva banner
  • News
  • Building family and domestic violence support at Canva

Building family and domestic violence support at Canva

Canva’s Global Head of People Jennie Rogerson shares key learnings from supporting Canvanauts through family and domestic violence, including our support guide template.


This article discusses sensitive topics related to family and domestic violence. If you are impacted by the content of this article, we encourage you to reach out to a trusted person in your network or community, or a local support organisation. Your wellbeing is important, and support is available.

Devastating figures from the World Health Organization(opens in a new tab or window) estimate around 1 in 3 women have experienced a violent relationship, with 1 in 13 men in Australia estimated to have experienced family, domestic or sexual violence according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics(opens in a new tab or window).

Sadly, family and domestic violence all too often goes undiscussed and under-recognised in workplaces, yet as these numbers show, it impacts many.

A quote from Fair Work Ombudsman, Australia

Source: Fair Work Ombudsman, Australia

It can be difficult to know where to start when addressing such a complex issue in the workplace. Before joining Canva I worked at a startup where I wanted to improve our inclusion programs, but there didn’t seem to be many practical resources out there to use as a guide – either because they didn’t exist or because no one was comfortable sharing beyond their own workplaces.

At Canva, we’ve been on an ongoing journey of building resources for our team and open sourcing them when we believe they can help the broader community. This includes our grief and loss guide(opens in a new tab or window), our job seekers resources(opens in a new tab or window), and now this family and domestic violence support guide(opens in a new tab or window).

An excerpt from Canva's Family and Domestic Violence Support Guide

An excerpt from Canva’s Family and Domestic Violence Support Guide (linked below)

Workplaces play a critical role in creating safe, supportive and informative environments that have the potential to create meaningful change. We’ve learned a lot along the way of building this guide, so with that in mind, we wanted to share our learnings and the resources we’ve created in the hope that they can share a starting point for other teams too.

Our key learnings

Our journey in creating the program started with extensive research, listening and learning, and culminated in the creation of internal procedures, financial support packages, policies, resources and training materials. Throughout the process, we learned that:

  • Abuse can take many different forms and can be difficult to identify. While often thought to be physical or emotional, family and domestic abuse can take many forms including verbal, physical, financial, emotional, social, sexual, and cyber abuse. Abuse is often used to coerce, control, or cause harm and fear to a close relative or partner. Through our conversations in developing these resources, we learned about the importance of creating a support program that understands and recognises all types of abuse.
  • It’s important to take an adaptable and nuanced approach to providing support. Abuse doesn’t fit into a simple box or checklist. People who experience this have very personal and varied lived experiences. We know there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to providing support which is why we’ve designed our resources with adaptability, humanity, and flexibility at the heart of our approach.
A comment from a Canva People Partner (HR Business Partner)

A comment from a Canva People Partner (HR Business Partner)

  • Views can vary within cultural contexts. With team members from 83 nationalities, and speaking 89 languages, our team is incredibly diverse. It’s critical to understand cultural contexts. We did this by taking the time to listen to and learn from our teams around the world.
  • Working closely with an expert organisation is critical. It was important to get a third-party perspective on our support program before rolling it out to our team. By partnering with Full Stop Australia(opens in a new tab or window), an Australian trauma-specialist counselling service, we were able to ensure our support program was comprehensive and trauma-informed, as well as helping to answer our questions and providing invaluable feedback along the way.
  • We all play an important role in having open conversations. We learned that there's enormous impact in simply creating an inclusive space for informed conversations - in particular, dispelling myths and creating awareness of the signs and subtleties in someone’s behaviour.
A comment from a Canva People Partner (HR Business Partner)

A comment from a Canva People Partner (HR Business Partner)

The impact of supporting teams

I’m proud of the work our team has done so far to create an inclusive environment where others have felt safe to ask for support.

While it’s difficult to truly quantify the impact that widespread awareness and frequent conversations can have on changing the course of family and domestic violence situations, we know in many cases, it can be life-changing:

Feedback shared by a Canvanaut who has accessed support

[note: this feedback was provided with the Canvanaut’s privacy protected and is being shared with their explicit consent]

When people are empowered with the knowledge to identify and understand the impacts of family and domestic violence, they're more likely to start a conversation with a teammate to connect them with support, help a friend feel seen and heard when they share an experience, or recognise unsafe and abusive characteristics in their own relationships.

Feedback shared by a Canvanaut who has accessed support

Feedback shared by a Canvanaut who has accessed support

Continuing the conversation

One of our values at Canva is to ‘be a force for good’ and take active steps towards creating a better future, both here at Canva and in the community around us. The People team at Canva are proud to partner with community organisations such as TwoGood(opens in a new tab or window) and Dress for Success(opens in a new tab or window) across Australia and the US which provide our team with the opportunity to use their skills to upskill, uplift and empower women facing disadvantage in their employment journey.

Canvanauts using their skills to help uplift job-seekers

Canvanauts using their skills to help uplift job-seekers

Some of our recent initiatives include partnering with Dress for Success to host workshops on creating a personal value proposition, using Canva to build a stand-out resume to get noticed during the job search, and helpful tools and mindsets to build confidence. In the US, we also hosted a mentoring program to support victims of family and domestic violence who've returned to the workforce.

By sharing these learnings and resources, we hope to continue the conversation and open the door for other teams. Together, we have the opportunity to move the needle on creating better outcomes and providing meaningful support for the 1 in 3 women and 1 in 13 men currently estimated to experience family and domestic violence.

Here is the link to Canva’s internal Family and Domestic Violence Support Guide if you’d like to use it.

Download Canva's Family and Domestic Violence Support Guide Template