Intimate partner violence and the workplace

cover-imageIssues Paper 7, November 2014

Authors: Margaret Rayner-Thomas1, Janet Fanslow2, PhD, Robyn Dixon3, PhD.

1 Master of Public Health; Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)

2 Associate Professor, Social & Community Health, School of Population Health, University of Auckland; Co-Director, New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse

3 Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Auckland; Co-Director, New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse


Key messages

  • Intimate partner violence is common.
  • Many victims and perpetrators are in paid work.
  • Workplaces provide an ideal place for intervention and raising awareness about intimate partner violence.
  • Barriers to action by workplaces can include: a lack of understanding of the size, nature and impact of the problem and not knowing how to respond to the issue; not recognising the high cost to their businesses.
  • Active adoption of strategies to support those who experience intimate partner violence is important to secure their long-term safety.  There are local and international examples of these strategies. These include:

- Adopting workplace practices and policies (e.g. flexible work hours, flexible work locations, security practices, awareness raising)
- The inclusion of entitlements that support victims’ safety in collective agreements
- Partnering with specialised family violence agencies to support in-house training and facilitate referrals
- Legislation, related to work leave, anti-discrimination and occupational safety and health.

  • By actively engaging with the realities of intimate partner violence, organisations can avoid taking on the financial and resource costs associated with its occurrence and impacts in the workplace.  Most importantly, it will help establish healthier and more equitable workplaces for all employees. 

Recommended citation

Rayner-Thomas, M., Fanslow, J., Dixon, R. (2014). Intimate partner violence and the workplace. Auckland, New Zealand: New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse, University of Auckland.

ISSN: 2253-3222, published online only

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