Media Release 13 June 2018
Domestic Violence Victims’ Protection Bill must be supported
NZNO urges all members of parliament to support the Domestic Violence Victims’ Protection Bill, which is expected to be read for a second time tonight.
In recent years the nurses’ organisation has advocated strongly for legislation, policy and industrial responses including provisions in collective agreements that provide employment protection and support for victims of domestic violence who face the risk of domestic violence.
NZNO lead on domestic violence Carol Beaumont explains that the Bill has been thoroughly scrutinised by the Justice Select Committee and changes are proposed.
“As one of the organisations that submitted in favour of the Bill we welcome the retention of provisions for paid leave, flexible working arrangements and protection against adverse treatment. It is disappointing that the National Party in the report from the Select Committee says they do not support such provisions,” Carol Beaumont said.
The effects of suffering domestic violence is of great concern to NZNO which, is a large union and professional organisation with 48,000 members. The majority of its members are women of which some will be victims of domestic violence given the extent of this problem in our society and many suffer violence at work too.
NZNO National Committee Women’s Health College member Ann Simmons says NZNO’s submission on the Bill contrasted the experience of two nurses who experienced domestic violence.
“We contrasted one person who had support at work and one who did not. As one of those nurses I know the impact of domestic violence professionally and personally was starkly different because the support was vital to getting through,” says Ann Simmons
“Nurses deal with domestic violence in a number of ways in their profession by screening, support, treatment and prevention as part of their work. Nurses are often the first health professional victims of domestic violence engage with. As a nurse working specifically in health I know this from my own working life.
“For both of these reasons we are strongly in favour of workplace support provisions and have raised them with employers in our collective bargaining.”
“We urge all parties to support this Bill as unanimous support would send a very strong message to the community,” Ann Simmons said.