Domestic violence solutions

You may have seen the launch of my new Member’s Bill in the media this week.

jan-DV bill release4

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.

One thought on “Domestic violence solutions

  1. It concerns me greatly that the core research being presented as the basis for this bill excludes half the population of our country simply by their definitions:

    “For this project, victims are women who have experienced domestic violence who are in paid employment.”

    The only specific mention of male victims I could find with a quick read of the PSA document was a sentence that started with “It is important to note that men can also be victims of domestic violence” then proceeds to run on, without even the good grace of a comma, to say “that the workplace protections specified can also have a positive impact on abusers”.

    I was isolated from my family, disrupted at work, beaten repeatedly with a leather belt (I know, I shouldn’t have hurt your feelings, I’m sorry), had things thrown at me, my possessions smashed, threatened with knives, held down in my bed and punched in the face (I’m sorry, I know I should have picked up those dishes you left out), and attacked on more than one occasion with a metal pipe, once in front of a witness. And that’s just the physical stuff.

    Yet, in the 65 pages of the PSA report, my experiences are relegated to that single sentence.

    I understand from my reading that you (Jan Logie) have extensive experience working with groups such as Women’s Refuge. This means you have good insight into the female experience, but, due to the selective funnel of the groups you worked with, likely little understanding of the male experience.

    To be honest, at the abuse end of things, it’s remarkably similar (speaking from the perspective of someone who grew up in a non-violent family; the process for those who grew up inside a violent environment seems to be quite different).

    The gradual disruption and destruction of support networks and self-esteem, the gradual escalation of verbal, emotional and then physical abuse. The repeated cycles of honeymoon periods, tension building, and explosions.

    To be honest, the abuse in some ways wasn’t as bad as the experiences trying to escape it. To a degree I feel sorry for my abuser, as she’s so deeply broken. However, I feel great anger towards the institutions that have continued to enable her, both by excusing her violence towards both myself and the children, and by assisting her in continued abuse by proxy. The Police in particular have shown gross bias. Because, you know, Domestic Violence is men hitting women, right?

    It angers me even more that the Police statistics are then fed to places like the Family Violence Clearinghouse, who then compile reports that are fed back to the Police to form their policy. This loop amplifies existing biases, and nobody in the loop seems to want to see it.

    Do you think my children are less likely to suffer ongoing consequences through their life due to it being their mother hitting their father, rather than the reverse?

    The cycle of family violence is perpetuated through violence and dysfunction, not through gender, yet the support services available for men are non-existent, or do things like the “Are you OK?” website – female pictures for victims, male pictures for “want to stop being abusive?”, and lists of resources for said victims that all to frequently have “women” in the name of them.

    I despair.

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