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Girls & Women

New Zealand Grants Domestic Abuse Victims Paid Leave


Why Global Citizens Should Care
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of family abuse in the world. Passing legislation that supports victims is key to helping them find safety. The UN's Global Goals call for gender equality, as well as for reduced inequalities, and you can join us by taking action in support of these issues here.

New Zealand has become the second country in the world to grant domestic abuse victims paid leave.

The historic legislation will guarantee survivors 10 days paid leave, in order to leave one’s partner, relocate, and protect themselves and their children, reports The Guardian. The Philippines passed a similar law in 2004.

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“Domestic violence doesn’t respect that split between work and life. A huge amount of research tells us a large number of abusive partners bring the violence into the workplace,” said Green MP Jan Logie, who worked for seven years to pass the bill, according to The Guardian. “Be that by stalking their partner, by constant emails or phone calls or threatening them or their workmates. And some of that is about trying to break their attachment to their job, to get them fired or get them to quit so they are more dependent on their partner. It is very common.”

New Zealand has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the world, with police responding to a family violence incident every four minutes, according to figures released by New Zealand Police.  

And 80% of incidents go unreported, noted the New Zealand Herald

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Logie, who worked in a women’s shelter prior to taking office, told The Guardian that the new legislation was the first step in tackling the country’s endemic and “horrifying” domestic abuse rates, encouraging other countries to follow New Zealand’s lead.

Some are already doing so: In 2004, the Philippines granted 10 days of paid leave to those suffering domestic violence, according to Hindustan Times. Meanwhile in March, Australia’s Fair Work Commission voted to allow five days of unpaid leave for domestic abuse victims. A labour union push to match New Zealand’s proposal was rejected. 

“We know women’s economic situation is pivotal to her choices that decides what she can and can’t do,” said Dr. Ang Jury, the chief executive of Women’s Refuge, in an interview with The Guardian. “If she can retain her job and retain the confidence of her employer, whilst still dealing with domestic issues, then that is great news.” 

The new legislation is expected to take effect in April.