Domestic Violence – Victims’ Protection Act becomes law
1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men are victims of domestic violence at some point in their life. Domestic violence doesn’t just stay at home but often follows people to work or school.
As teachers, you may see the impact of domestic violence not only on your colleagues but also on parents and students themselves. This is why PPTA supports the Domestic Violence Victims’ Protection Act 2018, which came into effect on 1 April 2019 and made changes to New Zealand law.
PPTA members and the association itself made submissions to the bill which fed into the new act and the association’s then women’s officer Eva Hartshorn-Sanders was involved in drafting the legislation.
The law changes provide employees affected by domestic violence, either in the past or currently, with some supports at work, including paid leave and an ability to request short term changes to working arrangements.
The new law entitles victims of domestic violence to be able to request up to 10 days additional leave from work a year for reasons related to domestic violence.
This leave is intended to assist employees to manage the effects of domestic violence and make themselves and their children safe by enabling time for arrangements, such as moving house, attending scheduled court dates, and arranging care for their children, without risking their ongoing employment.
Changes of working conditions
An employee, or a person acting on their behalf, has the right to request a change of working conditions on a short term temporary basis for up to two months including the ability to work from a different location and carry out different duties as well as variation of other terms.
Things that could be changed are; The place of work, hours of work, days of work, duties at work, specific contact details the employee must provide the employer.
An employer may require proof that an employee is affected by domestic violence and can refuse to meet a request if proof is requested and not supplied. While there are some specific grounds in law on which an employer can refuse a request, an employer has to be reasonable in responding to, and accommodating, the request.
The new law now makes it unlawful under the Human Rights Act 1993 for an employer to discriminate against someone affected by domestic violence.
For more information and eligibility criteria see our women's network community page
If you or someone close to you needs support and assistance because of domestic violence, these organisations can be contacted;
Are You OK?: areyouok.org.nz, Family Violence Information Line (0800 456 450) – For information about family violence, what it is and where to get help.
Oranga Tamariki – Ministry for Children: orangatamariki.govt.nz. Call 0508 FAMILY (0508 326 459) if you are concerned about a child or young person.
Women’s Refuge: womensrefuge.org.nz, 0800 REFUGE (0800 733 843)
Shine – Making homes violence free in NZ: 2shine.org.nz, free helpline 0508 744 633. Provides information to victims of family violence and also a training provider for the prevention of family violence.
National Network of Stopping Violence: nnsvs.org.nz. A network of community organisations working to end violence to women and children across New Zealand.