Family Violence Prevention and Management Guidelines


All members of the University community


To contribute to the prevention of family violence on campus and to provide a framework to support members who experience the effects of family violence.

These guidelines further explain how members can access the support the University provides under its Family Violence Policy


The New Zealand Domestic Violence Act 1995 legally protects anyone in a domestic relationship from violence. This can include those who live in University apartments, hostels and halls of residence.

For the purposes of the Family Violence Policy and these guidelines, the term family violence will be used when describing domestic and relationship violence.

The University affirms that family violence is unacceptable and that every person is entitled to respect and to live free from fear and abuse.

The University recognises that family violence can affect every sector of the community, including the University and its members and that family violence may impact on the work/study performance, effectiveness or safety of a member.    


  • Confidentiality and respect
  • The role of the contact person
  • Staff members – who to contact
  • Students – who to contact
  • Further support
  • Safety planning
  • Referral


CALL 111 OR EXT 966 IF SOMEONE IS IN DANGER. All risks and threats of violence on campus should be reported to the local supervisor or manager as soon as possible

  • University provisions for members affected by family violence (whether directly or indirectly) are aimed at providing appropriate, timely and sensitive support


Confidentiality and respect

  • All efforts will be made to protect members from any discrimination that is due to their disclosure or experience of family violence and that they will not be subject to disadvantage for being a victim of family violence
  • Where a disclosure indicates that the person making the disclosure or others may be at serious risk, it may not be possible to maintain absolute confidentiality, even if a complainant does not wish the matter to be taken further
  • In these circumstances, information will be disclosed only to those people who need to know about the disclosure
  • Disclosing family violence may be difficult and distressing for the person affected. They are also vulnerable.  It is important therefore that it is managed sensitively and appropriately. See website resources for some strategies to assist


The role of the contact person

  • Members affected by family violence who wish to access the University’s support as outlined in the policy and guidelines, should contact one of the University’s contact persons who can assist in developing a safety plan, accessing compassionate considerations, flexible work/study arrangements  or any other practical arrangements
  • While contact persons are able to advise and assist, under normal circumstances they are not able to act on behalf of or act as an advocate for a staff member or student
  • All contact and support people are advised to attend the relevant training offered
  • Where they feel they are unable to assist a person who has disclosed they should sensitively and confidentially refer to an appropriate person or organisation
  • Non-designated contact people should be aware of the above University designated contact persons who are responsible for implementing University support structures and of responding appropriately to disclosures of family violence


Staff members – who to contact

  • In most instances, a staff member who wishes to access the University’s support for themselves, as outlined in the policy and related guidelines, is encouraged to approach their line manager directly, as the manager will usually need to be involved in any practical arrangements to support the staff member. They may also wish to take a support person with them
  • Where a staff member does not feel able to approach their manager in the first instance, the staff member may contact one of the other University designated contact persons
  • For general information and support, staff members may also contact EAP (for counselling), their union representative or a trusted colleague


Students – who to contact

  • The University Health and Counselling Service (UHCS) will see someone immediately in emergency situations such as ‘a recent rape, assault or harassment’ or ‘a witness to a traumatic event’
  • UHCS can provide brief solution focused  support rather than long term counselling and can assist and support students arrange additional or further support should they need more than UHCS can offer
  • The Proctor can provide advice about what support is available and assist with disputes involving students
  • The student may also contact other people for general information and support such as:
    • Student Equity Advisor
    • Māori Liaison Officer
    • Pacific Equity Advisor
    • Manager Student Disability Services
    • faculty student support advisors
    • student academic and engagement managers
    • appropriate residential assistant
  • AUSA support and information contacts who are independent from the University include:
    • AUSA Student Advice Hub provides confidential independent advocacy
    • Women’s Rights Officers
    • Queer Rights Officer (support and advocacy for students who identify as LGBTIQTakatāpui+) 
    • Welfare Vice President


Further support

  • Persons affected should be advised of available legal protection and their option to make a complaint to the police
  • Expert external organisations can provide support, information, safety planning at home, places of refuge, advocacy, advice on protection orders and other legal options (see related webpage resources for contacts)
  • Some of these organisations specialise with particular groups such as: Maori, people who identify as LGBTI and people from Asian, migrant or refugee backgrounds etc.
  • Perpetrators of family violence are encouraged to and will be supported in seeking assistance to stop using violence


Safety planning

  • A safety plan may be recommended if the reported perpetrator seeks to contact the person affected or other University members or attend University premises
  • This could involve an assessment of physical campus security, communications, and plans to respond to emergencies. It may need to be developed in consultation with the University Security Service, IT and/or Early Childhood Education Centres. Such consultation should always take place with the clear permission and full knowledge of the staff member or student involved. See Safety Planning Guidelines in the resources



  • Where additional or more expert support is required, it may be appropriate to refer the person experiencing family violence to other relevant internal or external people or  agencies


The following definitions apply to this document:

Contact person refers to the staff members who are designated to be first point of contact for staff or students seeking the support offered under the Family Violence Policy. They can assist the affected person to access the support available at the University

  • for staff members: an appropriate supervisor or line manager, academic head, human resources staff, Director of Staff Equity or Staff Equity Manager
  • for students: University Health and Counselling Services, the Proctor, Director of Student Equity, appropriate academic staff member or residential managers

Domestic relationships include: married couples; unmarried couples; gay and lesbian couples; children; family; anyone in a close relationship; flatmates or others who ordinarily share a household

Family violence refers to domestic and relationship violence

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
  • 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
  • sexual abuse – rape, coerced sex, unwanted sexual activity, forced pregnancy or abortions, forced involvement in prostitution or pornography
  • financial abuse – abuser makes all the financial decisions, does not allow victims to buy basic needs, makes victims account for every cent, steals their 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

Safety Plan - a family violence safety plan enhances general strategies for being safe at the University and may target specific risk factors associated with the family violence being experienced by the person affected. See the resources for how to develop a Safety Plan.

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

Document management and control

Owner: Pro-Vice-Chancellor Equity

Content manger:  Staff Equity Manager

Approved by: The Vice-Chancellor

Date issued: 25 November 2015

Review date: 25 November 2018