Family and Relationship Violence and Abuse Policy


All members of the University community.


To give support to members of the University community affected by family violence; those who wish to help; those who wish to stop their abusive behaviour and to contribute to the prevention of family violence.

Detailed guidelines and resource materials are available to support the implementation of this policy.


The University is committed to being a safe, inclusive and equitable place to work and study including by supporting members of the University community affected by family violence.

Family violence is a crime. The Family Violence Act 2018, The Family Violence (Amendments) Act 2018 and the Domestic Violence Victims’ Protection Act 2018 legally protects anyone in a family relationship from violence. For the purposes of this policy and related guidelines, the term family violence will be used when describing domestic and relationship violence and abuse including in University accommodation

Family violence is an abuse of power. It takes many forms including intimidation, control, isolation and physical, psychological, sexual, financial or spiritual abuse. Without intervention, family violence can increase over time becoming more serious and more frequent.

The University affirms that family violence is unacceptable and that every person is entitled to respect and to live free from fear and abuse. In compliance with the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Policy, the University also is obliged to ensure a safe and healthy work, learning and (for those in University accommodation) living environment.


1. If you are in immediate danger, call the Police on 111 or the 24-hour Security Emergency Line on 0800 373 7550.

All risks and threats of violence on campus should be reported to the local supervisor or manager as soon as possible.

Staff members who have experienced family violence and abuse from an external source may contact the Staff Service Centre on ext. 86000 or on 09 923 6000.

Support arrangements

2. The University will provide reasonable support for members who are currently experiencing family violence, or who have previously experienced family violence and who continue to be adversely affected by it, so as to enable them to maintain employment or study. See Family Violence web pages.

3. Members experiencing family violence who wish to access the support outlined in this policy and related guidelines can contact the following people who will provide advice to members about this policy and, with permission, may coordinate support for staff or students in conjunction with appropriate others.

  • Staff members can request support from a senior manager or academic head, HR Advisory, or the Director or Manager of Staff Equity.
  • Students can request support from the University Health and Counselling Service, the Proctor, the Director of Student Equity, an appropriate academic manager, or a Residential Manager if living in University accommodation.

4. Students may apply for compassionate consideration if study or performance has been affected by family violence.

5. Members who are experiencing the effects of family violence, may request reasonable consideration of flexible work/study arrangements, leave, safety planning, compassionate or other appropriate considerations for a number of reasons including but not limited to:

  • attending medical appointments and counselling
  • attending legal proceedings
  • seeking safe housing
  • visiting legal advisors or support agencies, for re-housing or re-organising childcare, or for other relevant appointments
  • other matters as a result of family violence.

University support available for staff members

6. The needs of the affected person are to be taken into account when undertaking these considerations and it would be expected that an application for flexible arrangements (up to two months or shorter) under family violence circumstances will be verified and considered positively and not unreasonably refused.

7. Flexible work arrangements such as changes to duties, location, hours, time off, breaks etc can be requested.

Note - Refer to Flexible Work Policy and Procedures.

8. Staff members may request a reasonable allocation of paid leave for time off to attend to family violence matters.

9. Under the Domestic Violence – Victims’ Protection Act 2018 staff members can request up to 10 days domestic violence leave each year in order to deal with domestic violence matters.

10. In addition to, or instead of leave available under this legislation, staff may apply to use their sick leave, annual leave, or request compassionate or other leave as per the Collective Employment Agreements.

11. Requests will be responded to urgently in writing.

Note- “Other Leave” is to be requested manually to Payroll through the employee’s manager with accompanying HR manager/advisor support.

12. To respect confidentiality, full disclosure of compassionate reasons to Payroll does not need to be given.

Developing support and awareness

13. Training is available to all staff.

14. The Equity Office will continue to communicate the policy and guidelines in collaboration with Central Communications, student leaders and Campus Life communications.

15. Perpetrators of family violence are encouraged to and will be supported to seek assistance to stop using violence and other abuse.


16. All staff members involved in supporting members experiencing a family violence situation are to keep confidential all discussions and documents as far as possible.

17. Information may not be disclosed without the person’s consent and only to those persons who the University believes need to know or where there is risk of immediate danger.

Note - 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.

Documentation and record keeping

18. In order to support a staff member’s or student’s application for leave, flexible work arrangements or compassionate considerations, the University may need to request appropriate documentation.

19. This will only be done with the full knowledge and permission of the person involved.

20. Where records of safety plans, details of unwanted calls, security procedures etc, have been made, they will be stored on a confidential basis within the department

21. Documentation is not to be put on a staff member’s HR file or student records unless requested by the affected person.

Disciplinary procedures

22. If warranted, an investigation into a complaint against members is to follow the appropriate disciplinary procedures. See Staff Complaint Process, Student Complaint Process.


The following definitions apply to this document:

Appropriate documentation includes statements from relevant professionals (such as Family violence specialists, doctors, counsellors or support service staff) or records from police, courts or hospitals.

Compassionate considerations may include considerations regarding:

  • flexible class attendance
  • attendance at a class different to the alleged perpetrator’s class
  • examinations and course requirements
  • assessment requirements
  • submissions
  • deadlines and extensions
  • late deletions
  • compassionate consideration of impact on performance and preparation for exams etc.

Family relationships include: married couples; unmarried couples; gay, lesbian and gender diverse couples; children; family; anyone in a close relationship; flatmates and others who ordinarily share a household. This may include University accommodations.

Family violence refers to domestic and relationship violence and abuse.

Note – Family or domestic violence is an abuse of power. Without intervention, it can increase over time becoming more serious and more frequent.

Family or domestic violence has many forms. It includes:

  • intimidation, control and isolation
  • physical abuse – hitting, punching, slapping, pushing, choking, punching, kicking, burning, stabbing, shooting and threats to do harm
  • sexual abuse – rape, coerced sex, unwanted sexual activity, forced pregnancy or abortions, forced involvement in prostitution or pornography
    • Sexual coercion includes a range of behaviours that a partner may use related to sexual decision-making to pressure or coerce a person to have sex without using physical force.
    • Sexual assault is any unwanted or forced sex act or behaviour that has happened without a person’s consent. Sexual assault may include;
      • Rape (sexual intercourse without consent)
      • Indecent assault (unwanted sexual touching)
      • Acts of indecency (exposure)
  • Psychological abuse – threats (to harm, to commit suicide, to report to authorities), harassment, stalking, jealous possessiveness, put-downs, isolation from friends and family, intimidation, verbal abuse, mind games, humiliation, manipulating children
  • Financial abuse – abuse makes all the financial decisions, does not allow victims to buy basic needs, makes victims account for every cent, steals money, runs up debts in their name, forces them to work or does not allow them to work when they want to
  • Spiritual abuse – abuser does not allow victim the freedom to follow their own faith or beliefs

Family violence happens within all age, religious and ethnic groups and across all socio-economic groups. The occurrence of family violence is not dependent on gender, sexual orientation or gender identity but the majority of victims of such violence are women and the majority of perpetrators are men.

Members refers to members of the University community.

Reasonable support includes, but is not limited to, the following measures:

  • provision of appropriate safety and security measures on campus
  • flexible work or study arrangements
  • leave or compassionate consideration to manage legal, medical, domestic or other matters related to family violence
  • referral to appropriate further support

Staff member refers to an individual employed on a full or part time basis.

University community includes all staff and students honorary appointees, contractors and visitors.

University means the University of Auckland and includes all subsidiaries.

Key relevant documents

Document management and control

Owner: Pro Vice-Chancellor Equity
Content manager: Manager Staff Equity
Approved by: Vice-Chancellor
Date first issued: 25 Nov 2015
Revised: (with minor changes) 01 April 2019
Date approved: 17 February 2020
Review date: 17 February 2025