New NZFVC Issues Paper: Intimate partner violence and the workplace
Tue 25 Nov 2014
A new Issues Paper, Intimate partner violence and the workplace, has been published by the Clearinghouse today. Co-author and Clearinghouse Co-Director ...
A new Issues Paper, Intimate partner violence and the workplace, has been published by the Clearinghouse today.
Co-author and Clearinghouse Co-Director Janet Fanslow said, "What happens at home affects what happens at work. We are calling for employers to adopt flexible workplace practices and policies to support victims."
Dr Fanslow says staying in paid employment is particularly important for victims of violence from their partner, because financial security can provide a way to escape the relationship. "Violence from a partner can lead to a victim quitting or being terminated from their job," she says. "Employers need to respond appropriately so victims’ employment is not jeopardised because of unexplained lateness, absenteeism or being distracted, tired or unwell."
"These can include things such as flexible work hours, training managers to respond appropriately, and providing additional leave so victims can take steps such as going to court to obtain a protection order. Legislation protecting the employment rights of victims of intimate partner violence is also required."
The key messages of the paper are:
- Intimate partner violence is common.
- Most 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.
Read Intimate partner violence and the workplace. Available as PDF or Word doc.
These publications are available from the Clearinghouse library:
Kahui, S., Ku, B., Snively, S. (2014)
Productivity gains from workplace protection of victims of domestic violence.
A project commissioned by the PSA. Wellington: MoreMedia Enterprises.
Rayner-Thomas, M. (2013)
The impact of domestic violence on workers and the workplace.
Master of Public Health thesis, University of Auckland.
McFerran, L. (2011)
Safe at home, safe at work? National Domestic Violence and the Workplace Survey (2011). Sydney: Australian Domestic and Family Violence Clearinghouse.
Pouwhare, T. (1999)
Māori women and work: the effects of family violence on Māori women's employment opportunities. Wellington: National Independent Collective of Women's Refuges.
In September 2014, the first meeting was held of a Canadian-led international network of researchers, domestic violence experts, social and labour organisations, and employers. The network will conduct research and mobilise knowledge about the impacts of domestic violence in the workplace.
Previous NZFVC news stories