You may have seen the launch of my new Member’s Bill in the media this week.
I am really excited about this one as it would make a huge difference in the lives of victims of domestic violence by making sure they are protected while at work. Protected from their abuser, protected from losing their job because they are having trouble concentrating or showing up on time, and empowered to take action to escape from their abusive relationship and rebuild their lives.
Domestic Violence is one of those ‘wicked problems’ that can’t be solved by any one solution. We need education and prevention, legal accountability, and support systems. All of these would ideally be part of a web touching all of our lives. Workplace protections like the ones in my Bill are just one part of the web but a really important part. The Family Violence Death Review found that in some cases, workmates were the only ones who knew about the abuse. If we can break down some of the myths and provide protections then we can help victims and their children get safe more quickly.
It’s also an exciting Bill because it has such great support. Good employers want to look after their staff and this Bill would help make sure they have the tools to do so.
We launched the Bill alongside research commissioned by the Public Service Association that shows these sorts of changes could save New Zealand businesses more than $368 million per year in productivity gains and staff retention, on top of all of the other benefits to victims and society.
This new research has been well received and supported by the Human Rights Commission, the Families Commission, the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, and of course, the PSA, who funded the research.