To mark International Women’s Day, Shine’s Holly Carrington (centre) joined with (L to R) Iain Lees-Galloway MP, Under-Secretary of Family and Sexual Violence Jan Logie MP, New Zealand Human Rights Commission Acting Chief Executive Pele Walker and representatives from Countdown, ANZ, and Women’s Refuge – to encourage businesses to prepare for the Domestic Violence Victims’ Protection Act taking effect on 1st April.
Shine has collaborated with MBIE, Human Rights Commission, the Family Violence Joint Venture, and Women’s Refuge to prepare information for employers and employees about domestic violence and this Act.
Holly said, ‘It’s been incredibly heartening to see growing numbers of employers eager to improve support for staff who experience domestic violence. Our DVFREE Tick accreditation has been awarded to Westpac, the Ministry of Justice, Parliamentary Service and as of last week Stuff, with many more on the way. Employers we work with have overhwhelmingly reported positive feedback from staff.
We applaud the Domestic Violence Victims’ Protection Act for creating a foundation of basic entitlements for employees experiencing domestic violence no matter where they work in NZ. But the reality is that many such people will be reluctant to access these entitlements out of fear – of not being believed, being judged or blamed, or that it might put them in more danger.
So we strongly recommend employers appoint specific staff as what we call ‘first responders’, provide them with specialist training and make them known to all staff, so that an employee experiencing DV can know that person is prepared to respond safely and effectively.
Our Guidelines on policy and procedures are now free to download from the DVFREE website and provide specific and comprehensive recommendations for employers. We also provide specialist training for employers.
I encourage businesses working on a new domestic violence policy to take the opportunity to think about how they can make their domestic violence policy and programme as effective as possible for their people.