The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has been awarded the DVFREE (Domestic Violence Free) Tick this week from Shine, New Zealand’s specialist domestic violence non-for-profit.
The DVFREE Tick is awarded to organisations that have taken specific, meaningful steps to create a workplace that is safe and supportive for staff experiencing domestic violence.
This comes on the heels of HRC taking on a formal role in the implementation of the Domestic Violence Victims Protection Act that went into force on 1 April 2019. This Act updated the Human Rights Act so that it is now illegal for employers to discriminate against an employee, or potential employee, on the basis of being affected by domestic violence. From 1 April, people who believe they have been discriminated against on this basis can make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission.
Chief Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt says “Domestic violence is the one of the most serious human rights issue facing New Zealanders, and possibly the most serious for New Zealand women.
“It was important for the Commission to be well-prepared for our role responding to complaints of discrimination on the basis of domestic violence under the new legislation, so we brought in Shine to provide intensive training for our entire Enquiries and Complaints Team.
We also felt it was vital for the Commission to lead by example in providing the best possible support for our own employees who experience domestic violence, so at the same time, we have been working towards the DVFREE Tick.”
HRC is the seventh employer to be awarded the DVFREE Tick by Shine.
Shine’s DVFREE Advisor Holly Carrington says she is thrilled to welcome the Commission to the DVFREE Tick whānau.
“Achieving the DVFREE Tick demonstrates that the HRC has taken important steps towards this goal by supporting their own people who may experience domestic violence,” Carrington.
“It’s also great to know that HRC staff are well-prepared to respond to anyone making a formal complaint of discrimination on the basis of domestic violence under the new legislation. Specialist training for their Enquiries and Complaints Team will help ensure they are well-equipped to address callers’ concerns about discrimination at the same time as proactively addressing any immediate needs for safety and support.”
As well as creating a new Domestic Violence Policy, updating other policies, and adding information and education about domestic violence to the staff intranet, the DVFREE Tick has seen HRC train key staff as ‘First Responders’ and train all of their managers. First responders are now equipped to respond to domestic violence disclosures, create safety plans if needed, and provide ongoing support for staff affected by domestic violence.
More information about DVFREE services and the DVFREE Tick are at www.dvfree.org.nz, and can help employers take a best-practice approach, rather than doing the minimum required by law.