Family violence remains a serious problem for our society with one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the developed world. In New Zealand one in three women will experience partner violence at some point in their lives, one in seven children state they have been harmed by a parent, and an act of family violence is reported to the police every five-and-a-half minutes.
Family violence doesn’t respect boundaries between home and the workplace, so in 2015 we launched our Domestic Violence Policy to support any team members who asked for our help. We provided training to managers on how to appropriately assist them and made resources and information available on our intranet.
“I believe companies should provide a safe haven for their team members and employees to get the help and support they really need and this might not be available without polices like this in place,” says Pejman Okhovat, CEO of The Warehouse.
Our efforts extend into the community, as well. In 2018, The Warehouse Group Gala Dinner raised $638,000 for the Breakthrough programme, which is a partnership between The Salvation Army and The Parenting Place to help fathers with a history of domestic violence become better dads.
Last year, we were acknowledged for our work in this area by Women’s Refuge and received their Workplace Refuge endorsement for businesses actively providing a workplace refuge for employees experiencing family violence. In 2017, we were the first organisation in New Zealand to become White Ribbon accredited in 2017.
Take The Pledge
Pejman is also a White Ribbon Ambassador and this year he is one of a team advocating for men to lead by example and talk to other men.
On White Ribbon Day (November 25th), the International Day for the Elimination of Men’s Violence Towards Women, White Ribbon is asking men to ‘Stand Up’ by taking the online pledge and committing to take one or more actions.
The eight actions offer men choices – to listen, reflect, alter their behaviour, talk to others and disrupt negative behaviour – which build respectful behaviour that undermines violence.
Once you have chosen an action, you will receive an email linking you with a White Ribbon toolbox and a video with useful information on how to proceed and achieve your action. Then you can challenge other men and organisations to Take The Pledge and get people off the sideline and involved in ending men’s violence towards women.
The White Ribbon campaign in New Zealand is a meld of the White Ribbon Day movement in Canada and the United Nations International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women, which is celebrated on 25 November each year.
The campaign has activities throughout the calendar year with an increased focus in November. White Ribbon is driven by a campaign team and community groups in towns and cities throughout New Zealand, while events and activities are increasingly supported by businesses, cultural groups, sporting teams, local government and a wide range of community and government agencies.