Paid leave for domestic violence victims now needed - union

Author
Alicia Burrow, Ben Aulakh,
Publish Date
Wed, 14 Sep 2016, 5:52AM
(NZH).

Paid leave for domestic violence victims now needed - union

Author
Alicia Burrow, Ben Aulakh,
Publish Date
Wed, 14 Sep 2016, 5:52AM

UPDATED 7.57am One of New Zealand's biggest unions wants paid leave for domestic violence victims.

LISTEN ABOVE: Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft spoke to Mike Hosking

It follows the Government's announcement yesterday that it will make 50 law changes to the Domestic Violence Act, and create new offences specifically for domestic violence incidences.

Two new offences, non-fatal strangulation and assaulting a family member, have been introduced as part of a package of measures designed to cut rates of family violence.

Brenda Whiteman: Heavier punishments won't stop extreme violence offenders

Now the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions Secretary Sam Huggard said its members want better support systems at work for survivors of violence.

"Maintaining your connections to work and employment often can be a really important factor in reducing the impact of violence.

"Often it's the sort of the most normalizing and safe space away from the home, and so we want to make sure women have got every opportunity to maintain that connection."

Mr Huggard said CTU has raised this issue with both the Justice and Workplace Relations Ministers, and is hopeful they may now respond.

"People wouldn't have to second guess it, they know it's an entitlement they can call on if they're in a crisis situation, and it enables them to get on with getting things sorted, without having to worry about that added stress at work."

A group that supports victims of family violence says the new criminal offence outlawing strangulation is necessary because of the risk the act poses to victims.

Aviva operations manager Elaine Lucey said the new offence is needed to put a stop to a dangerous form of abuse.

"Strangulation is known to be a significant risk factor for serious harm and even death. 30 per cent of the victims we work with experience strangulation."

Ms Lucey said more resources have already been introduced in Christchurch to support the new measures.

"The government is already committed to increased resources this year under a new pilot, the integrated safety response pilot, which is currently running in Christchurch."

 

 

Meanwhil,e the Children's Commissioner is asking what makes us so violent, describing it as the country's $60 million question.

Judge Andrew Becroft said we can do a lot to put in place measures to combat domestic violence.

But he told Mike Hosking the deeper question is why is it such an insidious and pervasive part of our culture.

"And that is a big question because I'd see it in youth court time after time, almost all the boys you saw had experienced violence themselves. Sure they victimise others but they had all been victims and abused violently themselves, girls as well."