Domestic Violence

Domestic violence has wide ranging impacts on the lives and opportunities of those it affects. From April this year, workplaces will be required to play their part in supporting domestic violence survivors.  Are your policies and procedures going to be ready?

The Domestic Violence – Victims’ Protection Act 2018 commences on 1 April 2019. We are reviewing our members’ policies and procedures and will be updating them in readiness (look for our Policy release in March!).

The Act addresses the impact of domestic violence on a person who is in employment or to a  child of the employee. It uses the domestic violence definition contained in the Domestic Violence Act which, in July 2019, will be replaced by a definition of family violence.

The Act entitles an employee to request a short term variation of employment terms to deal wtih the impact of domestic violence regardless of how long ago the domestic violence occurred and even if the domestic violence occurred before the person became an employee.

The Act also establishes entitlement to domestic violence leave up to 10 days.

There are a number of consequent obligations on employers.

A staff member affected by domestic violence must not be adversely treated by an employer for this reason.  If adverse treatment occurs, the staff member will have a right to pursue a personal grievance.

Members already have family violence policies and procedures in place for staff and clients. The new legislation applies to the workplace.

We have assessed it will require only minimal change to staffing policies and procedures. Our existing policies support workplace awareness about family violence and responses to safety and support concerns. This will remain the focus but we will strengthen provision for leave and variation of employment terms to comply with the new legislation.

Contact us at the Policy Place for help with reviewing and updating your policies and procedures to comply with the new legislation and other upcoming changes.

 

2 Comments

  1. Holly Carrington on February 24, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    Hi Lu and Kendra, Someone sent this link to me because it relates to my work as DVFREE programme advisor for Shine. DVFREE (www.dvfree.org.nz) is our workplace programme which helps employers create workplaces that are safe and supportive for staff who experience domestic violence. Our DVFREE Tick employer accreditation has been awarded to Westpac, the Ministry of Justice and Parliamentary Services, with many more working towards this accreditation including the Human Rights Commission, IAG, NIWA, and Stuff. Our concern is that too many employers will only do the minimum required to meet the new requirements of the Domestic Violence Victims Protection Act, which what we encourage and support is for employers to adopt a best practice programme. To this end, we offer free Guidelines for policy and procedures http://www.dvfree.org.nz/dvfree-guidelines-for-policy-procedures , as well as consultation and training, and have delivered this programme since 2001. Since you are offering a domestic violence policy that complies with new legislation, would you consider also including a link to our free Guidelines for employers that want to look at best practice or specialist training?

    Kind regards,
    Holly Carrington
    021-979-331

    • Kendra Beri on February 25, 2019 at 8:15 pm

      Kia ora Holly

      Many thanks for letting us know about what you’re doing at Shine. I think the Guidelines could be really helpful for purchasers of our Family violence policy when customising it to their own organisation’s needs and context. To assist people and promote the Shine initiative, we will include a reference and link to the Guidelines under the Helpful links section of the policy.

      Ngā mihi nui
      Kendra

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