Women’s Refuge ecstatic
Women’s Refuge ecstatic at The Domestic Violence—Victims’ Protection Bill passing its third reading.
25th July 2018
Women’s Refuge is delighted that The Domestic Violence—Victims’ Protection Bill passed its third reading in Parliament today despite the lack of support from the National Party. The bill is targeted at helping victims of domestic violence find and keep paid work, so that they have the stability to rebuild their lives.
“This is very pleasing to see that the government is ensuring added support for New Zealanders who are experiencing family violence,” says Chief Executive of Women’s Refuge Dr Ang Jury, “the idea that there will now be a legal requirement for workplaces to support for victims in the workplace shows that we are committed to making significant progress in eliminating family violence.”
Over the last two years Women’s Refuge has been working closely with many organisations in New Zealand to develop family violence policy and provide training; Women’s Refuge had hoped that the passing of this bill would mean that more organisations would engage its services for support. New Zealand businesses such as Vodafone, the Warehouse, and ANZ have already made significant provisions for victims and perpetrators of domestic violence through workplace policy.
“We have worked in partnership with organisations like The Warehouse Group, Downer, Vodafone, Sky City and Fonterra, through developing their policy and offering in-depth training and support; they are already seeing the significant impacts and benefits this type of support has made to not only the morale of the organisation and its staff, but also to productivity and business as a whole,” says Dr Jury.
“When you consider that most people are spending eight plus hours a day at work, having a responsive workplace where family violence can be talked about, and where people being harmed have an opportunity to be supported properly, can also protect against the loss of productivity and added costs involved in on-going harm to employees.”
The Warehouse Group, one of the first to work with Women’s Refuge noticed the benefits almost immediately, with Acting Chief People Officer Julie Simpson explaining:
“Being a large organisation with well over 12,000 team members, any issue that impacts New Zealand is an issue that impacts our people. Having a range of policies and effective support systems means that we’re able to help people experiencing family violence get advice and take the time they need to keep safe. We have a strong culture around doing the right thing and supporting others, and we recognise that we’re employing a whole person, not just who someone is at work, so that’s why we’ve invested in policies like our Domestic Violence policy.”
The Bill sets out concrete processes to give victims of domestic violence stability and security at work, which helps them to get out of violent situations, do what’s best for their families, and prevent violence impacting their workplaces. Protections include paid domestic violence leave, flexible work arrangements, prohibition of discrimination, and mandatory workplace policies to deal with the effects of domestic violence.
For more information on how Women’s Refuge can help your organisation develop and progress Family Violence policy, visit https://womensrefuge.org.nz/responsive-workplaces-family-violence-your-organisation/