Women’s Council Urges Province To Broaden Proposed Domestic Violence Leave

Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2018 13:12 PM

Proposed domestic and intimate partner violence leave should be broadened to include other kinds of gender-based violence.

That's according to Beth Lyons of the New Brunswick Women's Council, who tells us this would ensure survivors of sexual violence committed by acquaintances or strangers will also be eligible.

"I think that a lot of folks intuitively think that when we think domestic and intimate partner violence, that that covers all gender-based kinds of interpersonal violence," says Lyons. "But the reality is that we know, particularly with sexual violence, that it can be committed by strangers and as well as by acquaintances."

Lyons says provinces Ontario and Saskatchewan include several kinds of gender-based violence in their violence-related leave legislation, and New Brunswick should consider following their approach.

The New Brunswick Federation of Labour has told us people experiencing domestic or intimate partner violence should be eligible for 10 days of paid leave and should be able to take it either intermittently or continuously.

The women's council hasn't considered a specific number, but Lyons says it's important that victims of violence take the time they need to heal and seek justice without worrying about their jobs.

"We know that women often are more likely than men to be working in precarious and low-wage, part-time work, and that finances can be a big barrier to leaving violent relationships, so we want to look at whether or not this leave is going to be paid."

The province is gathering feedback and recommendations on the proposed changes over the coming weeks.