Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Legislation would help victims of domestic violence

The New Brunswick Union (NBU) is urging the government of New Brunswick to follow Manitoba's lead and enact legislation to help victims of domestic violence.
The law, which received royal assent in Manitoba on March 15, is the first of its kind in Canada. It offers victims of domestic violence both paid and unpaid leave from work as well as guaranteeing job security if they need to take time off as they seek safety away from their abusers. In total, victims will receive five paid days which can be taken together or intermittently, five unpaid days and a 17-week unpaid period should the person need to leave and find a new place to live.
"Domestic violence effects every aspect of a victims life including their work," said NBU President Susie Proulx-Daigle. "We all need to be part of the solution."
A similar bill is being considered in Ontario which would offer 10 days of paid leave, some unpaid leave and flexible work arrangements for victims of sexual or domestic violence.
"Breaking the cycle of abuse can be tremendously difficult and, as a province, we should be doing everything we can to help people in this regard," she said. "Domestic violence is a difficult and dangerous situation that can affect anyone and everyone. We're open to helping government make this legislation a reality as soon as possible."
A recent article in the Telegraph-Journal stated the province had 2,100 police-reported instances of intimate partner or domestic violence in 2014 - the highest rate east of Manitoba - and outreach workers estimate thousands more went unreported. The article went on to say police investigated more incidents of intimate partner violence than drug, robbery, motor vehicle theft and drunk driving cases.
"It's vitally important we take steps to help those suffering in any way we can," Proulx-Daigle said. "We feel this legislation would be a great step forward."