Family Violence Policy


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.

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


The New Zealand Domestic Violence Act 1995  and the Domestic Violence Victim’s Protection Act 2018 legally protects anyone in a domestic 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.

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. The University also has a legal obligation to ensure a safe and healthy work, learning and (for those in university accommodation) living environment.


1.   If a member considers a threat to be real and imminent they are to report it directly to University Security or police: CALL 111 OR EXT 966 IF SOMEONE IS IN DANGER.


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.

3.   Members experiencing family violence who wish to access the support outlined in this policy and related guidelines are to be supported by a relevant contact person.

Note - Contact persons may provide advice to members about this and related policies and guidelines and, with permission, may coordinate support for staff or students in conjunction with appropriate others.

4.   Members who are experiencing the effects of family violence, may request reasonable consideration of flexible work/study arrangements, leave, 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
  • matters as a result of family violence


University support available for staff members

5.   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.    

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

Note - Refer to Flexible Work Policy

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

8.   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.    

9.   In addition to, or instead of leave available under this legislation,  staff may apply to use their sick leave, annual leave, or request leave for compassionate reasons under “Other Leave”.

10.   Requests will be responded to urgently and within 10 working days.

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

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


University support available for students

12.   Flexible attendance arrangements to attend classes and other University requirements may be requested.

Note- Alternative access to course materials may be granted by course coordinators if the student is unable to attend classes.

13.   Compassionate consideration may be applied for if study or performance has been affected by family violence. Compassionate considerations may include considerations regarding:

  • class attendance
  • examinations and course requirements
  • assessment requirements
  • submissions
  • deadlines and extensions
  • compassionate consideration of impact on performance and preparation for exams etc.

14.   To request compassionate consideration to sit exams outside of the scheduled time, students are to speak to a University contact person and Examinations as soon as possible. See Compassionate Consideration for more information.


Developing support and awareness

15.   Training is to be provided to all key personnel, contact and nominated people in regards to implementation of the policy and related guidelines.

16.   A communications plan and awareness raising activities are to be provided by the Equity Office to communicate the policy and guidelines to staff and students on an on-going basis.

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



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

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   

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

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

21.   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 local area.

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


Disciplinary procedures

23.   If warranted, an investigation into a complaint against members is to  follow the appropriate disciplinary procedures.


The following definitions apply to this document:

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

Compassionate considerations may include considerations regarding:

  • class attendance
  • examinations and course requirements
  • assessment requirements
  • submissions
  • deadlines and extensions
  • compassionate consideration of impact on performance and preparation for exams etc.

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 or service division 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 manager

Domestic relationships include: married couples; unmarried couples; gay and lesbian 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

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

Document management and control

Owner:  Pro Vice-Chancellor Equity   

Content Manager: Manager Staff Equity

Approved by: Vice-Chancellor

Date issued:  25 Nov 2015

Revised: (with minor changes) 01 April 2019

Review date: 25 Nov 2019