Family violence FAQs

What is family and relationship violence?

Family and relationship violence is an abuse of power by someone close to you. It could be your partner, a family member or flatmate. Family and relationship violence can take many forms, including physical, psychological, sexual, financial or spiritual abuse. Family and relationship violence can disrupt the ability to study or work and can negatively affect performance, effectiveness, safety and wellbeing. Family and relationship violence can also impact colleagues, friends and other members of the University community. Visit Family Violence – It's Not OK.

Why is family and relationship violence an issue for the University?

The University of Auckland is committed to being safe, inclusive and equitable. We affirm that family and relationship violence is unacceptable. Every person is entitled to respect, and to live free from fear and abuse. Family violence is a significant issue for the University because:

  • People who have experienced family and relationship violence are likely to face barriers to their work and study
  • The University has a legal obligation to ensure a safe and healthy work and learning environment and safe and healthy living environment for those in University accommodation
  • Staff or students who have experienced family and relationship violence may need to take time off work/study to attend court, or to seek medical attention or counselling. They may leave their job/course/home to escape from the perpetrator.

Who can be affected by family and relationship violence and how?

Family and relationship violence can happen to anyone. This form of abuse affects people of all ages, religions, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds, and of any gender, sexual identity or gender identity. However the majority of victims of family and relationship violence are women and most perpetrators are men.

Why is family and relationship violence an equity issue?

Family and relationship violence can compromise a healthy start to life, effective engagement with high quality early childhood education and school, as children in violent families have physical and emotional trauma, often change addresses and schools; educational achievement and access to university are limited. Success at university and in employment can be restricted because of current or past family violence and abuse.

Will the Family Violence Policy require changes to leave provisions?

There are existing provisions in collective agreements to support leave for compassionate considerations. Staff experiencing family and relationship violence can request “Other Leave” through their manager.

Read the Family Violence Policy.

Are disclosures about family and relationship violence confidential?

  • Anyone involved in supporting colleagues or students who disclose family and relationship violence are to keep these disclosures confidential as far as possible.
  • If they or others may be at serious risk, absolute confidentiality may not be possible, even if a complainant does not wish the matter to be taken further.
  • Where consultation with a third party is required this should always take place with the clear permission and full knowledge of the person involved as far as possible.

Isn’t family and relationship violence a police matter?

  • Most behaviours described as family and relationship violence are criminal offences under the Domestic Violence Act and people experiencing it are advised to contact the Police.
  • A number of organisations can support people to contact the Police and to help obtain protection or other safety orders. Read more here.

Whether or not a staff member or student who experiences family and relationship violence contacts the Police and regardless of whether or not a prosecution is made, the University has an obligation to deal with any unacceptable conduct on campus and to support University members whose work or study is adversely affected by such abuse.

Who can I contact for help or advice about family and relationship violence?

  • If there is a real or imminent threat, call the Police on 111.
  • If you see any suspicious behaviour on campus call University Security: 0800 373 7550 or internal ext 966.

If you are affected by family and relationship violence, the University of Auckland can provide support. For more information, including a list of Contact People for students and staff, visit Family Violence – It's Not OK

When do I call the police about family and relationship violence?

If you or others are in immediate danger, call 111. For example, if:

  • A weapon is present
  • Threats of violence or intimidation are being made
  • Property is being damaged
  • Harassment, stalking or acts of actual violence are taking place.

For any non-urgent or historic matter, phone or visit your nearest police station. You are welcome to take a support person with you.

For more information read here.

What is sexual consent?

The legal age of sexual consent in NZ is 16. If you are under 16 you cannot consent.
Sexual consent is when both people say and demonstrate “yes” to a sexual activity.
Consent must be given freely in each situation.
If there is coercion or manipulation, consent has not been given.
The NZ Police provide the following information:

  • If they can't stand up, the answer is no.
  • Slurring their words? The answer is no.
  • If you don’t get a yes, the answer is no.

Read more about consent and watch the Tea and Consent video.

I've been raped, what can I do?

If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually assaulted, call the police on 111.
Or contact HELP Support for Sexual Abuse Survivors (09 623 1700) as soon as possible to access their 24-hour crisis service.
If you are a student you can make an appointment with the University Health and Counselling Service. You can take someone with you. For urgent counselling during normal operating hours, you can arrange to see a Duty Counsellor by phoning +64 9 923 7681 between 8.30am - 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.

My friend was sexually assaulted, what can I do to help?

Let them know you are there for them. Ask them what they want to do. Offer to:Support them to call the Police on 111 or go with them to the Police.
Support them to call to HELP (Phone: 09 623 1700) to access their 24-hour crisis service. Sexual assault organisations such as HELP encourage victims to seek advice as soon as possible.

If they are a student, help them make an appointment and go with them to the University Health and Counselling Service. For urgent counselling during normal operating hours, you can arrange to see a Duty Counsellor by phoning +64 9 923 7681 between 8.30am - 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.

Someone has uploaded an intimate or nude picture of me to Facebook/social media/the internet. How can I get it removed?

Ask the service provider to remove the material. See NetSafe: Removing sensitive information.

How do I stop online harassment or cyber abuse?

  • If you have received harassing, offensive, abusive or derogatory phone calls, emails, messages or web content, there are a number of options you can consider. Read more at Online harassment and cyber abuse.
  • Refer to the University’s webpages on Safe Computing and Security Awareness
  • For more advice on preventing and stopping cyber abuse, hiding your search history and protections under the Digital Communications Act, see NetSafe, phone 0508 NETSAFE or email queries@netsafe.org.nz.

What action will be taken against abusers?

  • No form of violence or abuse is acceptable at the University of Auckland.
  • Other examples of unacceptable conduct include threats or sabotage to work or study, stalking, harassment or threatening to or committing acts of violence on campus or when involved in University related activities or use of University resources to engage in such acts.
  • If warranted, an investigation into a complaint against a member would follow the appropriate disciplinary procedures.

I want to stop abusing and using violence. Who can help?

If you are using abuse and violence the first and hardest step is admitting you need help.The next step is to get support. For information, including a list of University Contact People and external organisations that can help visit Family Violence – It's Not OK.

Someone I know is affected by family and relationship violence and abuse. What can I do to help?

Sometimes just one action or comment can make a big difference to someone experiencing family violence. Here are some ways you can help:

  • If there is a real or imminent threat, call the Police on 111.
  • Phone University Security on 0800 373 7550 or internal ext. 966 if you see any suspicious behaviour.
  • Recognise when someone you know is dealing with a difficult situation.
  • Ask, “Are you OK?”
  • Offer to help them get support.
  • If you are unsure of the right move ask others to help.
  • Speak up against comments, jokes and behaviours that condone family violence.
  • Read more about how you can help here.  

If I see violence happening on campus what can I do?

  • If there is a real or imminent threat, call the police on 111.
  • Keep yourself safe.
  • If you see any suspicious behaviour on campus call University Security: 0800 373 7550 or internal ext 966.
  • Visit Family Violence – It's Not OK.

Is it only girls and women who experience family violence?

  • Family violence happens to girls and women and to boys and men.
  • However the majority of those affected by family violence are women and most perpetrators are men.
  • Family violence affects people of all ages, religions, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds, and of any gender, sexual identity or gender identity. Visit Family Violence – It's Not OK.  

Can family and relationship violence happen in LGBTI relationships?

  • Family violence affects people of all ages, religions, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds, and of any gender, sexual identity or gender identity.
  • If you or someone you know is affected by violence in a LGBTI relationship find read about Expert organisations that can help.

If I am or someone I know is affected by family and relationship violence in a LGBTI relationship, who can help?

  • Family violence affects people of all ages, religions, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds, and of any gender, sexual identity or gender identity.
  • If you or someone you know is affected by violence in a LGBTI relationship find read about Expert organisations that can help.

I am an international student affected by family and relationship violence. Who can help?

If you are a student here, there are a number of people, at and beyond the University, who can help you if you are affected by family and relationship violence. Find out more about legal help here

How does the University respond to malicious complaints or false allegations about family and relationship violence?

Intentionally false, frivolous or vexatious accusations or allegations will be viewed seriously and may result in disciplinary action. Read the University’s Prevention of Bullying and Harassment Policy.

What is the law in NZ on family and relationship violence?

The New Zealand Domestic Violence Act 1995 legally protects anyone in a domestic relationship from violence. Domestic relationships include: married couples, unmarried couples, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex couples, children, family, anyone in a close relationship, flatmates and others who may share a household. This could include University accommodation. Read about Domestic Violence and the law in New Zealand.

How can the University help someone who is affected by family and relationship violence off campus?

If a staff member or student’s work, learning (or living, for those in University accommodations) is negatively impacted by family and relationship violence, the University will support that staff member or student as far as possible, eg, through flexible working/studying arrangements, leave, compassionate considerations, safety planning or appropriate referral for support. Visit Family Violence – It's Not OK.

How do I have my name removed from the staff phone list/Directory?

Individuals can have their profile excluded from the internal and/or public facing University Directory for health, safety and wellbeing reasons.
If you would like to have your profile excluded from the University Directory please discuss this with your line manager/supervisor, Academic Head, Service Division Manager or HR Adviser. For more information please refer to the University Directory Information Guidelines.

What is campus personal safety planning?

A campus personal safety plan aims to minimise the risk of harm to a person affected by family and relationship violence, as well to colleagues, peers and other members of the University community. It may be recommended if a reported perpetrator of family violence seeks to contact the person affected or others or attends University premises. This could involve an assessment of physical campus security, communications and plans to respond to emergencies. Visit Family Violence – It's Not OK.

How do I keep safe on campus from family and relationship violence?

A campus personal safety plan may be developed if there is a risk to you of family violence. This would complement safety plans for you at home and in the community. Visit Family Violence – It's Not OK.

Are other universities doing work in the area of family and relationship violence?

  • The University of Auckland is the only university in New Zealand which has a comprehensive family violence project.
  • Some New Zealand universities address sexual assault on campus and some have had student led campaigns around the issues of family, sexual and/or relationship violence and abuse.
  • The Australian Go8 universities recognise family violence in their enterprise agreements and most Go8 Universities have supporting policies, guidelines and/or programmes in place.
  • In the UK, the government has required Universities UK to investigate the problem of violence against women at universities and draw up a code of practice.
  • In the USA, universities are required by law to report on incidences of sexual assault and rape and have accompanying strategies/programmes to support prevention and management.
  • Visit Family Violence – It's Not OK.

Are other organisations doing work in the area of family and relationship violence?

  • The Ministry of Social Development, through their ‘It’s Not OK’ campaign, are working closely with businesses throughout NZ.
  • Auckland Council is rolling out a multi-sector Family, Whānau and Sexual Violence Strategy and action plan.
  • The North Harbour Business Association recently ran an ‘It’s Not OK’ campaign encouraging local businesses to address family violence in the workplace.
  • The Ministry of Health’s Community Action Youth and Drugs team works extensively with communities, organisations and events to help reduce harm among people.
  • The Public Service Association recognises family violence as a workplace issue and has developed significant resources to assist organisations.
  • Sporting associations and local communities are increasingly addressing family violence.  

I am an International student and I’ve had a Protection Order taken out against me. Will this affect my application for residence or a student visa?

For general immigration purposes Family Court/Family Violence information does not come out unless disclosed by the applicant or if there is a conviction.  If disclosed it can impact on character requirements, although the disclosure is not usually sufficient in itself to prevent the visa. However, taken with other issues it can be. It can also impact on residency applications, in terms of whether a relationship is likely to continue. Find out more about legal help here.

I am a student applying for a job which requires a NZ police check and I have had a Protection Order taken out against me. Will this be in the police check?

A protection order may or may not show up on a police check as it may depend on whether the police were called to attend a family violence matter.
A protection order may or may not show up on a good character check. Find out more about legal help here.

Please email us if you have any questions that you would like to be added to our FAQs: equity@auckland.ac.nz.