Businesses and workplaces encouraged to adopt policies that address family violence

Businesses and workplaces encouraged to adopt policies that address family violence

November 25, 2016

This White Ribbon day, the Human Rights Commission is encouraging businesses and workplaces to address one of New Zealand’s biggest human right issues by adopting a family violence policy.
 
The first of a series of short videos has been released today and features representatives from a range of organisations encouraging others to adopt a family violence policy to help address the harm caused by family violence.
 
Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue says, as one of New Zealand’s biggest human rights issues, family violence will already be impacting hundreds of businesses.
 
“The damaging and pervasive effects of family violence extends well beyond the home. Many victims and perpetrators will invariably bring their trauma with them to work and are more likely to be disengaged, less productive and to suffer workplace accidents.
 
“By implementing a family violence policy, the cost savings to the business will be truly significant but crucially, for victims, it can be life-changing and life-saving.
 
“For many, the workplace can be the only safe place to access help and information. We are keen to see all New Zealand businesses equipped to provide that support. Having a family violence policy is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do,” Dr Blue says.
 
Communications Manager of Shine, an organisation that provides help for victims of domestic violence, Holly Carrington says, “We’ve heard many stories from victims about their employers helping them stay safe at work, but we’ve heard even more stories about employers who never found out about the abuse, and some who punished or even fired the victim for circumstances brought on by it.
 
“A policy is a critical starting place for employers to give staff the message that they will support victims who disclose to stay safe and remain employed.”
 
Shine, alongside The Warehouse, ANZ Bank, Countdown Supermarkets, the University of Auckland are involved in the video series and are just some of the organisations in New Zealand that have adopted, or have assisted others in adopting, a family violence policy. 
 
Anna Campbell, Chief People Officer for The Warehouse Group says, “We are proud to be the first New Zealand business to gain White Ribbon accreditation, which shows that we have violence prevention integrated into our business.
 
“We’ve found that the practicalities of taking action at a business level hasn’t been that hard and that’s why we’re encouraging other businesses to do the same.”
 
ANZ Senior HR Business Manager, Gina McJorrow, says ANZ recognises that domestic violence is a widespread (and often hidden) human rights issue across New Zealand.
 
“We support our employees and provide resources and assistance to help them stay safe. We strongly encourage all employers to recognise the importance of helping people to retain employment and ensure they have financial independence.”
 
As one of the country’s largest employers, Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, James Walker, says that it’s important that their team can ask for help in the strictest of confidence, and that they have practical support in place when it’s most needed.
 
“Countdown’s policy aims to help anyone in our team who is impacted by family violence so they can take the time needed to attend court and meet with medical and support services, without being impacted financially at work.”
 
Trudie McNaughton, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Equity), the University of Auckland says, "The University of Auckland's Family Violence Policy is an important part of our comprehensive Family Violence Project. The project also includes information on the range of support available to students and staff, training and safety planning.”
 
The first video is available to be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69up_55PVBQ&feature=youtu.be
 
For more information on Family Violence Policies, visit: www.hrc.co.nz/familyviolencepolicy 
 

Human Rights Commission

The Commission works for a free, fair, safe and just New Zealand, where diversity is valued and human dignity and rights are respected.