Kerre McIvor writes:
The Domestic Violence Victim Protection Bill was passed in Parliament this week and has been hailed by its architect, Green MP Jan Logie, as a “win for victims, a win for business and ultimately a win for all of us”. …
I fail to see how this new provision for victims of abuse will save any lives whatsoever.
Every single victim of domestic abuse who has phoned me on talkback over the years has said they were so ashamed and embarrassed by their situation, they couldn’t bring themselves to let friends or family know what was going on behind closed doors. Particularly the men.
Is is often forgotten that men are also victims of domestic violence. In fact the Dunedin Health and Development Study has found 34% of men in the study have been physically abused by a partner and 27% of women.
The notion of asking for help was anathema to them and abusers know that. Despite the fact that it’s the abusers who should be feeling shame, they are master manipulaters.
So the concept of someone who has been knocked about, emotionally and physically, being able to find it within themselves to approach their boss and come clean about their domestic situation seems unlikely.
This is correct. I suspect the number of people who ever take up the entitlement will be miniscule. It’s a law that will make very little difference to victims.
And it’s not just the financial burden for small- to medium-sized employers that’s most concerning – what about the health and safety ramifications?
If one of their employees tells them they are living with a violent partner then begs them not to tell anyone, and later that employee ends up dead, will the employer be held liable for not divulging that their staffer was at risk?
They may not be held legally liable, but they will probably feel moral culpability.
I absolutely agree that our domestic violence stats are a source of shame and our violent homes are a breeding ground for future offenders. But I really don’t think Logie’s bill is the answer.
And while I don’t have a solution, I would suggest that others do. When Counties Manukau police attend a violent domestic situation, they give it a couple of days to allow all parties to cool off, then go into the home with trained counsellors and try to work out the root of the problem.
The children are asked their opinion – it’s a holistic, wrap-around approach to domestic abuse which gives the people involved the chance to save themselves and their family.
Putting money and energy into that sort of initiative makes a whole lot more sense to me than making businesses cough up 10 days extra leave.