Domestic Violence Policy

Approval Date
1 June 2020
Approved By
Chief Executive
Next Review
30 November 2022
Deputy Chief Executive: People, Culture and Safety
Baldrige Criteria
Workforce focus

To set out legislative entitlements of employees affected by domestic violence, either as the victim of violence or the perpetrator; and to make clear Otago Polytechnic Limited (Ltd)’s commitment to supporting affected employees and to providing a safe and supportive workplace.


1. Background

a. Otago Polytechnic Ltd is committed to taking all reasonable and practical steps to support and protect employees affected by domestic violence. The Domestic Violence – Victim’s Protection Act 2018, provides legislative entitlements to employees affected by domestic violence, including:

i.    the right to apply for up to 10 days paid domestic violence leave per year

ii.   the right to request a variation to their working arrangement

iii.  the right to be free from adverse treatment because they are or are suspected of being a person affected by domestic violence.

b. Furthermore, Otago Polytechnic has an obligation to ensure that all employees are safe at work. If an employee considers a threat to be real and serious, this should be reported directly to the Police. Call 111 if someone is in immediate danger.

2. First Responders

First responders are the Director: People and Culture and People & Culture Business Partners and/or the Formal Leader.  An affected employee can approach a first responder of their choice.

3. Domestic Violence Leave

a. An employee’s entitlement to apply for up to 10 days paid domestic violence leave annually, comes into effect at the time of appointment.

b. An employee should treat domestic violence leave as they would any other type of leave and seek approval beforehand (if that leave is anticipated) and if not, notify their Formal Leader as soon as possible of their absence.

c. If the employee has used their leave entitlement they can apply for additional leave.

d. First responders or the employee’s formal leader can assist employees to apply for domestic violence leave.

e. Requests for domestic violence leave require approval from the Director: People and Culture.

4. Variations to Working Arrangements

a. Employees affected by domestic violence have the right to request a short term (2 months or shorter) variation to their working conditions (for example, hours, days, and place of work) and/or how their contact details are managed.

b. Requests require approval of the Director: People and Culture, who may seek formal leader input before making the decision to approve any requested variation.

c. Requests must be made in writing, but employees can ask a first responder, their formal leader, or any other person to assist them to write the request, or to write the request on their behalf.

d. Requests must include the employee’s name, place of work within the Polytechnic, formal leader’s name, and the variation they are seeking, including the start and end date for the changes.

e. The Polytechnic will try to accommodate requests whenever possible, but there are certain grounds on which an employer may refuse a request. If the Polytechnic cannot accommodate the request, it will provide the employee with a clear written explanation as to why the request has been refused.

f.  A response will be provided in writing as soon as possible and no later than 10 working days after receiving the request. The Polytechnic will try to accommodate requests whenever it is reasonable and practicable to do so.

6. Other ways that Otago Polytechnic Ltd can Support Employees:

a. Develop a safety plan for the workplace, which may include working with the Campus Cop and/or Campus Services.

b. Re-route salary payments to a different bank account number.

c. Connect employees with specialist domestic violence support agencies (see full contact details below)

d. Support eligible employees to access free counselling, other supports Domestic Violence specific and/or the employee assistance programme (EAP).

7. Privacy for Affected Employees

a. Any disclosure from an employee will be treated with the strictest of confidence.

b. Information will be shared on a strictly need-to-know basis to protect the employee’s privacy as much as possible.

c. Domestic violence leave will be recorded by People & Culture outside of the main payroll system.

8. Raising a Complaint

a. If the employee has made a request under this policy and the Polytechnic has not responded within 10 working days of receiving the request or has refused a request without explanation or has refused a request and relied on grounds that it cannot rely on, then the employee can raise a complaint with the mediation service (or Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment), the Employment Relations Authority or the Labour Inspectorate.

b. An employee can raise a personal grievance if they believe that they have been treated adversely by the Polytechnic because they are, or are suspected to be, a person affected by domestic violence. Details on how to raise a personal grievance are set out in individual employment agreements.

c. Alternatively, an employee may raise a complaint with the Human Rights Commission.

9. Safety Planning

a. Employees can contact the Director: People and Culture to discuss concerns about safety on Campus. They may enlist the assistance of the Campus Cop and/or Campus Services to assist in assessing risks and developing a safety plan that will address the individual’s safety concerns, to the extent that it is reasonable and practicable to do so. The safety plan may include, but is not limited to, physical security on Campus, an emergency plan, and the identification of a secure location on Campus.

b. Employees can also approach a first responder and/or their formal leader to assist them with the safety planning process.

c. The Polytechnic reserves the right to deny access to any part of/or all of the Polytechnic’s premises (including Polytechnic provided accommodation) to perpetrators of domestic violence who are considered to be a threat to any member of the Polytechnic community.


Other information and contacts:

Crisis Lines

If a member of the Polytechnic community considers a threat to be real and serious, this should be reported directly to the Police, with or without consent of the affected people.

If someone is in danger call Police & emergency - dial 111.

Text 4177

Other crisis and support lines are listed below:

  • Family violence Information Line: 0800 456 450(free call within New Zealand)
  • Shine national helpline: 0508 744 633[9am – 11pm] (free call within New Zealand)
  • Women’s Refuge Crisis Line: 0800 733 843[24 hours] (free call within New Zealand)
  • Shakti- for migrant and refugee women: 0800 742 584[24 hours] (free call within New Zealand)
  • National network of stopping violence: +64 3 391 0048
  • Victim Support 0800 842 846(fee call within New Zealand)
  • Child Youth and Family 0508 326 459(free call within New Zealand)
  • Emergency Psychiatric Service 0800 467 846or free text 1737 (free within New Zealand)

megan gibbons signature

Approved by:
Dr. Megan Gibbons
Chief Executive