Bleats

New Zealand Will Grant Survivors Of Domestic Violence Ten Days Of Paid Leave, And Australia Should Follow In Its Footsteps

It's a great step towards supporting survivors – because the last thing anyone needs when dealing with domestic violence is to worry about their job.

New Zealand became the first country in the world to implement paid leave for survivors of domestic violence when it passed the Domestic Violence Victims’ Protection Bill on Wednesday night.

The bill was introduced to Parliament by Green Party MP Jan Logie, and passed with 63 votes for and 57 votes against. It will go into place in April next year.

This makes New Zealand the first country in the world to have a law of this kind. While several Canadian provinces have similar laws, and Canada’s federal government announced its intention to give survivors 5 days paid leave in this year’s budget, it is not yet the law there.

Working to end domestic violence

This is a world first! Green MP Jan Logie MP's bill for the victims of domestic violence will be law from April next year. Domestic violence is something that we all have a stake in reducing so it's wonderful to see this finally happen.

Posted by Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand on Tuesday, 24 July 2018

The bill is the result of seven years of hard work from Logie, activists and unions across New Zealand.

According to Women’s Refuge New Zealand, 60% of victims of domestic violence were in full-time employment before they entered an abusive relationship, but only 27.5% stayed employed during the relationship.

Speaking to John Campbell of Radio New Zealand, Logie argued that the bill not only benefits victims, but businesses too.

“Too many businesses don’t know how to respond… they lose great staff, or they lose productivity because everyone else in the workplace is trying to work out how do they keep her safe, and not having the support to know how to do that.”

The loss of employment and the support it provides is severely felt. Many abusive partners seek to control their victims by limiting their contact with the outside world, because if a victim becomes reliant on their abuser as their only means of financial and emotional support, they will be less likely to leave.

By enshrining paid domestic violence leave in law, New Zealand is helping victims have one less thing to worry about when they are trying to leave abusive relationships. They won’t have to worry about money, or potentially losing their job, and can focus on more immediate and important concerns like their safety.

It makes sense – if you can get paid leave for being sick, why shouldn’t you get it when you’re trying to leave an abusive and horrific situation?

In March, the Fair Work Commission here in Australia ruled that all Australian employees covered by modern awards should be entitled to up to five days of unpaid leave if they need to deal with the impact of domestic violence, which is a far cry from the ten days of paid leave that was recommended by unions and that is now law in New Zealand.

Survivors of abuse don’t just need time to heal and piece their lives back together, they need resources too; the ACTU places the cost of leaving an abusive relationship at as much as $18,000. Without financial support in the form of paid leave, victims may feel unable to leave their abusive partners.

Like in so many other areas, our friends across the Tasman are way ahead of us, and we should be racing to catch up.

Brock Turner's Lawyers Have Begun The Appeals Process On The Grounds That He Committed "Outercourse", Whatever The Hell That Is

According to his lawyers, the jury did not have enough evidence to convict, and argued that he had committed "outercourse", which apparently means "a sexual act while clothed".

Content warning: this article discusses sexual assault.

Remember Brock Turner, the Stanford student who was found guilty on three felony charges of assault, and who was the subject of that powerful letter that went viral in 2016?

After he received a six-month jail sentence that he only served three months of, his lawyers have launched an appeal to have his conviction overturned, and their reasoning is… questionable.

Stanford University

His crack legal team are arguing that the jury did not have enough evidence to convict, and even if they did, Turner didn’t commit assault but actually “outercourse”, meaning a sexual act while clothed.

If you were like me and hadn’t heard the term until now, you might be amazed to know that it is actually a thing. Planned Parenthood defines it “other sexual activities besides vaginal sex”, which is slightly different to the definition being used by Turner’s lawyers.

One of the many problems with this idea of “outercourse” being significantly different from other forms of assault is that it completely ignores the effect of assault on the victim.

Assault is traumatising for someone whether it happens while they’re fully clothed, partially clothed, or completely undressed, and Brock Turner’s lawyers are awful for trying to undo what feminists have been fighting for for decades: legal acknowledgement of all forms of assault, not just the penis-in-vagina kind.

Not to mention, if the jury didn’t have sufficient evidence to convict, why was this not brought up during the initial trial, when both sides are traditionally expected to bring up all relevant evidence and counter-arguments?

Deputy Attorney General Alisha Carlile argued that there was “ample evidence”, and according to the Associated Press, the appeals court judges “appeared skeptical” of Turner’s lawyer’s arguments, which is a mood.

P.S. The original judge who was criticised for giving Turner such a lenient sentence? He was voted out of office last month. Nice.

Sorry To Ruin Your Day But There Is A Map Of More Than 1000 Women And Children Lost To Violence In Australia And It's Heartbreaking

The Red Heart Campaign, which was founded in 2015 to give victims of domestic violence a place to share their stories, has created an interactive map of Australia featuring the stories of over 1000 women and children whose lives have been lost to domestic violence.

The Red Heart Campaign, a project created by journalist Sherele Moody following a year of reporting on domestic violence in Australia, has launched an interactive map, The Australian Femicide Map, with the details of over 1000 women and children whose lives have been lost to domestic violence.

The map is an extension of the group’s Memorial to Women and Children Lost to Violence, which is the only memorial of its kind in Australia.

The map includes victims such as Eurydice Dixon, Luke Batty, Jill Meagher and Elijah Doughty, and victims will continue to be added to the map as the project grows.

It’s incredibly sobering to zoom in on the map and learn of crimes that took place near your home, or zoom in and be reminded of just how many people have been lost to domestic violence in just one part of your city.

I looked in my area and learned of the murder of 19-year-old Tosha Thakker in 2011. It took place in Croydon, the suburb I went to high school in, in the year I graduated, and I’d somehow never heard her name before.

Projects like Red Heart’s memorial and map are incredibly important as they remind us of the people behind the horrific headlines. The projects don’t focus on how their attacker was “such a nice person” or “a great father” up until they suddenly weren’t; instead, they focus on the victims whose lives were cut short. The memorial gives us faces and stories to remember these victims by, and the map places their stories within a context that is incredibly familiar to us – our own.

 

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