Call for more employers to consider needs of workers affected by family violence video

NZ HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

The Human Rights Commission is encouraging more businesses and employers to think about what role they could play in helping eliminate family violence in New Zealand.

Employers who adopt a family violence policy could go beyond saving money - the move could save lives as well.

As part of  Friday's White Ribbon Day, the Human Rights Commission launched a campaign aimed at encouraging businesses to introduce a family violence policy in their workplaces.

As domestic violence affected one in three women, Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue said  hundreds of businesses around New Zealand would be feeling the effects as well.

Family violence affects one out of three women in New Zealand.
123rf.com

Family violence affects one out of three women in New Zealand.

"The damaging and pervasive effects of family violence extends beyond the home.  Many victims and perpetrators will invariably bring their trauma with them to work and are more likely to be disengaged, less productive and to suffer workplace accidents," she said.

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* Survivor says domestic violence law changes 'definitely good first step'
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* Women's Refuge and The Warehouse team up to help victims of domestic violence
Walking a mile in her shoes to raise awareness of domestic violence 

"By implementing a family violence policy, the cost savings to the business will be truly significant but crucially, for victims, it can be life-changing and life-saving," Blue said. Domestic violence costs the country's workplaces about $386 million a year.

Lawyer and anti-violence campaigner Catriona MacLennan supports provision for paid leave for domestic violence victims.
JEFF BRASS/SUPPLIED

Lawyer and anti-violence campaigner Catriona MacLennan supports provision for paid leave for domestic violence victims.

Shine's communications manager Holly Carrington said the domestic violence service had heard of women who had been reprimanded at work or even fired by employers who were unaware of the abuse and  misunderstood the reasons for their employee's absence from work.

Lawyer and anti-violence campaigner Catriona MacLennan fully supported the initiative to get more employers on board and said the provision of paid leave was also important.

"Many victims stay in violence relationships for financial reasons - they don't have the money to support themselves and their children if they leave," she said.

Green Party MP Jan Logie  has drafted a members' bill  which would provide domestic violence leave for workers.
SUPPLIED

Green Party MP Jan Logie has drafted a members' bill which would provide domestic violence leave for workers.

She said if a woman lost her job because  she needed time to find a safe place to stay or to attend court, it would heighten the risk she would return to the abuser.

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Paid leave provisions could be achieved two ways, according to MacLennan, either through individual employment agreements or if the Government passed legislation.

Green Party MP Jan Logie said her members' bill - the Domestic Violence Victims' Protection Bill - sought to extend leave provisions to include domestic violence.

The Warehouse was the first employer in New Zealand to gain White Ribbon accreditation.
NATASHA MARTIN/FAIRFAX NZ

The Warehouse was the first employer in New Zealand to gain White Ribbon accreditation.

She said the Government and employers needed to ensure robust practices were in place to protect employees who were victims of domestic violence.

"Your level of safety shouldn't depend on what sort of job you have.  There are great employers picking this up, but every woman deserves proper protections from domestic violence," Logie said.

The Human Rights Commission will release a series of videos featuring businesses who have already adopted a policy, including The Warehouse which was the first in the country to gain White Ribbon accreditation. 

The Warehouse Group, which employs about 12,000 people, offers domestic violence victims up to 10 days paid leave each year. 

THE REALITY OF FAMILY VIOLENCE:

* It effects one in three women
* About 50 per cent of homicides are family violence related
* Police attend a family violence incident every seven minutes
* It costs New Zealand $8 billion a year.

Source: It's not OK campaign

 - Stuff

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