If you live in New Zealand you will be familiar with the It’s Not OK campaign.
A friend of mine in the UK was recently the victim of domestic violence. The assault was serious enough to warrant a suspended prison sentence and a course of rehabilitation for her partner. It wasn’t the first time she had called the police in fear of her safety. She had to take at least two weeks off work after the assault. The relationship is now over.
Here in New Zealand, the statistics make chilling reading. For example:
- There is an act of family violence investigated by the police every five and a half minutes
- Three quarters of offences committed by family members are not reported to the police
- Half of all homicides each year are the result of family violence
- 1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual abuse from a partner during their lifetime
There are plenty more horrible statistics.
So what are we doing about it as an HR profession? Most of us would probably shrug our shoulders and say it is nothing to do with us. And yet we put initiatives and training in place around managing stress, around resilience, we provide counselling services for staff, we provide additional support for bereavements, we run wellbeing and wellness programmes.
Statistically some of our employees will either be victims or perpetrators of family violence. But family violence remains the largely unseen, unmentioned elephant in the room. Do any of us know how much time is lost in sick leave and sudden unexplained absences? Are any of us doing anything proactive to raise awareness among our employees?
I personally believe that needs to change. And it starts with us. If you are in Wellington on 11 May, come along to the Wellington HR Meetup and hear more about what we as HR professionals can do to raise awareness of family violence in our organisations and why it matters.
In addition to our guest speakers, I will be talking about one large New Zealand organisation, the Warehouse, who are doing something quite exceptional in this area. Please join us if you can. Or do you want to keep looking the other way?