Law changes for domestic violence victims

Victims will now receive up to 10-days of paid leave and flexible work arrangements to deal with the impacts of violence

Law changes for domestic violence victims

Domestic violence victims will now receive up to 10-days of paid leave and flexible work arrangements to deal with the impacts of violence.

The law changes give employees affected by domestic violence the right to apply for paid leave and the ability to request short term changes to their working arrangements, according to The Council of Trade Unions Vice President Rachel Mackintosh.

“This leave is meant to help employees manage the effects of domestic violence and to make themselves and their children safe by giving time for things like; moving house, attending scheduled court dates, and arranging care for their children, without risking their ongoing employment,” said Mackintosh.

“This is progressive legislation which will make New Zealand workplaces better, safer places that support decent work and wellbeing for everyone.

“Everyone should be able to live a life free from violence. Unfortunately, we know that many people are experiencing violence from the people closest to them.”

The Domestic Violence Victims’ Protection Act began as a member’s bill sponsored by Green MP Jan Logie, who said: “This is a win for everyone – workers, employers, and our community.”

“Everyone should be able to live free from violence, but financial insecurity has often been a major barrier to people trying to leave abusive situations and keep themselves and their kids safe.

“Many people – survivors and their advocates – told us how important it was to be able to ask for help, to know they would get help, and to not have to choose between violence or poverty. This Act gives them options and security.”

The legislation is world-leading, providing not only paid leave, but access to flexible working arrangements and protection from discrimination for victims of domestic violence, said Mackintosh.

White Ribbon Ambassador Anna Campbell added New Zealand businesses are playing a “significant role” in supporting victims of domestic violence, but more needs to be done.

 “White Ribbon worked with The Warehouse to develop a business accreditation framework that ensures organisations have appropriate policy and training,” said Campbell.

“But we also need businesses to be involved in violence prevention.

“Our country has the highest rate of reported violence in the developed world. To change, this we need an all-of-society-approach.

“That is why White Ribbon supports and encourages businesses to prevent violence through education and awareness raising as part of our accreditation process.”

The following are some of the key statistics around domestic violence:

• New Zealand has the highest rate of reported violence towards women in the developed world

• Police investigated 118,910 family violence incidents in 2016 or about one every five minutes

• That’s 41% of a frontline officer’s time

• One in three women will experience partner violence at some point in their lives

• Less than 20% of abuse cases are reported


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