Submissions open on domestic violence workplace bill; new research on economic abuse

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Green Party MP Jan Logie's member's bill on domestic violence workplace protections has been referred to the Justice and Electoral Committee. The committee is now accepting submissions.

The Domestic Violence—Victims' Protection Bill would enhance workplace protections for victims of domestic violence by amending five Acts. The Parliament website provides a brief summary of the changes:

  • "add a definition of 'domestic violence' and explain the definition of 'victim of domestic violence' to the Domestic Violence Act 1995
  • provide for flexible working arrangements for victims of domestic violence in the Employment Relations Act 2000
  • amend the definition of 'hazard' in the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to include the effects of domestic violence and to require workplaces to have policies in place
  • allow victims of domestic violence to request domestic violence leave, under the Holidays Act 2003
  • prohibit discrimination on the grounds of being a victim of domestic violence in the Human Rights Act 1993 and Employment Relations Act 2000"

Submissions are open until 28 April 2017.

Background information

The Government initially did not support the bill but changed its position at the first reading on 8 March 2017. Justice Minister Amy Adams has not committed to supporting the bill into law, but said it was worth discussing.

The bill has wide support from a number of organisations including the Human Rights Commission, New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, New Zealand Federation of Business & Professional Women (BPW NZ), Public Service Association, White Ribbon, Women's Refuge and many more. For more information and additional organisations supporting the bill see the media below and the previous NZFVC story Domestic violence workplace Bill drawn from ballot; more businesses launch policies.

New research on economic abuse

Aotearoa New Zealand

Women's Refuge has published summary findings from new research on women's experiences of economic abuse in New Zealand. Findings from the survey of 445 women found that 60% of women were in full-time employment before they were in an abusive relationship, but only 27.5% remained in work during the relationship and after the relationship only 34% were employed. The Women's Refuge press release provides more information about the research, What’s Hers is Mine and What’s Mine is Mine: Women’s Experiences of Economic Abuse in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Women's Refuge have also published a booklet to help workplaces support employees experiencing violence, Responsive Workplaces: Family Violence and Your Organisation. The booklet includes a set of posters organisations can display around the workplace, using lines such as "Work Sweet Work" and "Oh God it’s Friday" to highlight signs of abuse. The posters are intended to generate discussion in the workplace and let employees that support is available.

Australia

New research from Australia looked at prevalence, health status, disability and financial stress related to economic abuse between intimate partners. The researchers used data collected from over 17,000 people in Australia who completed the 2012 Australian Bureau of Statistics Personal Safety Survey. A brief summary of the research is also available.

Selected media

Women’s Refuge “deeply disappointed” by National Party, Press Release: Women's Refuge, Scoop, 11.05.2018

National pulls support for domestic violence leave bill, Radio NZ, 11.05.2018

National Party lets women down, Press Release: New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, Scoop, 10.05.2018

National refuses to support domestic violence victims, Press Release: Green Party, Scoop, 10.05.2018

The Warehouse sets example on paid leave for domestic violence victims as Greens' bill passes first stage, One News, 09.03.2017

A win for women, Press release: Green Party, Scoop, 08.03.2017

Government commits support to new domestic violence bill, Newstalk ZB, 08.03.2017

Domestic violence bill passes first reading, Radio NZ, 08.03.2017

MPs vote unanimously for domestic violence leave bill to get further consideration, One News, 08.03.2017

U-turn sees Govt support first stage Green Party bill for additional leave for domestic violence victims, Stuff, 07.03.2017

Domestic Violence Protection Bill Requires Further Debate, Press Release: New Zealand First Party, Scoop, 07.03.2017