Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence – Victims’ Protection Bill won’t be supported by government but may get through with support from the government’s minor coalition parties.
In principle it may be reasonable to require employers to provide paid leave and flexible hours to assist someone who has been subjected to domestic violence, especially if they are in the process of changing residence or taking other steps to deal with it. However, this Bill is a dangerous ideological onslaught and contains no safeguards against misuse.
1. The Bill‘s Explanatory Note states:
“…This Bill provides legislation that signals domestic violence is unacceptable.”
Making employers pay for more leave seems a strange way of ‘signalling’ that domestic violence is unacceptable. In fact, it will make it more acceptable for people to claim they have been subjected to domestic violence because this will entitle them to leave and other privileges which could come in handy for a variety of reasons.
The Explanatory Note also states:
“This Bill will create a system to support businesses to respond effectively”
Well actually no, there’s nothing in the Bill to support businesses at all; it simply places pressure on employers to provide extra paid leave and work flexibility to some employees.
The Explanatory note highlights the confused and somewhat dishonest basis of the Bill.
2. Why would such a Bill apply only to domestic violence? What about if one’s neighbours or the teenage gang down the road were violent and driving you out of your home? Surely people traumatized by violence of any kind that required them to make significant life changes could be helped by leave and flexibility in their employment?
3. The Bill defines domestic violence according to the Domestic Violence Act, i.e. a huge range of normal behaviour that is not necessarily violence at all but someone wants it seen that way. This includes psychological abuse such as raising one’s voice in an argument or letting children hear the raised voice, and economic abuse including limiting a partner’s access to financial resources, e.g. not agreeing to a partner’s every wish to spend money.
4. The Bill imports the same kind of inadequate attitude to evidence and proof as is used in the Family Court. An employee claiming domestic violence need only produce one of a large range of possible documents that suggests the possibility of domestic violence, such as
– A document confirming police attendance at an incident involving domestic violence. This means any police call out which may or may not have involved any violence or may have involved only a drunken false allegation but the police issued the man with a ‘Safety Order’ to ensure police were not going to be bothered again that night.
– A record of a court’s ‘finding of fact’ of domestic violence. This will include the Family Court which finds such ‘fact’ on nothing but an allegation under its ‘balance of probabilities’ rort;
– A court order relating to domestic violence – so every person (read woman) who is granted a temporary protection order on false allegations for ulterior motives will now also get some extra paid leave;
– A report from a medical practitioner stating that a person has injuries or a condition consistent with having suffered domestic violence. So all someone needs to do is to tell the GP they are having some sleeping difficulties and claim this is because their partner said something unpleasant to them, and suddenly they’re a victim of domestic violence and can get some extra paid time off.
– A report from a domestic violence support organisation relating to a person who has suffered domestic violence. But those organisations simply accept any claims from women and do absolutely nothing to substantiate those claims, and indeed Women’s Refuge has admitted (in a Radio NZ interview) that they encourage women to falsely allege violence in order to get fast-tracked and free services from the Family Court.
– Any other document prescribed in regulations made under this Act. The mind boggles.
This Bill if passed will see people, mainly women who can much more easily get the documents required, applying for this extra leave whenever they are moving flats (just blame this on the previous flat mate’s psychological violence, even if there never was a flat mate), whenever they leave a relationship to start a new one (just blame the previous partner’s emotional abuse), or whenever they have run out of other leave.
The Bill could easily have included some real safeguards against misuse but like all our domestic violence laws it leaves the door wide open to misuse based on the fallacious claim that women would never lie about such things. The Bill could have required more solid evidence such as formal charges. And/or it could have required some evidence to be provided of the steps the person took to address the claimed violence. Under the current Bill, a person simply has to allege violence and obtain one of the documents; there is no need to do anything to deal with the violence. A canny employee could just claim each year that her spouse was psychologically mean to her in an argument, use the leave for a nice little holiday, and if the employer then ever asked what transpired she can just say she went back to him and they sorted it out. However, there is no right in the Bill for employers to be told anything about how the leave was used or what the person did about the alleged violence.
This Bill may assist some people who genuinely need help after violent experiences, but the way it’s designed it virtually yells out “Come and misuse me for some paid leave and flexible work hours!” As such it is another attempt to provide women with more opportunities to get privileges and special treatment at their fancy and without accountability. One dangerous aspect is the incentive it provides for even more women to make false allegations, resulting in such consequences as even more children being harmed by the loss of their family, unnecessary acrimony between their separated parents and/or unnecessary Family Court disputes. Even more dangerous, this Bill if passed will be used to publicize more spurious statistics about how many women were victims of domestic violence when many of them actually were not, and thereby maintain the advance of the feminist machine.