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ACC for sexual harassment victims “makes sense“

Photo: RNZ/Nikki Mandow.

ACC cover for victims of sexual harassment would be an excellent idea despite challenges, say lawyers and an advocacy group.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice, Jan Logie, is having informal discussions with the Minister for ACC, Iain Lees Galloway, about widening the provisions.

Ms Logie's office said no formal decisions have been made so far.

Project Restore NZ, a restorative justice organisation for perpetrators and survivors, said it would make a lot of sense for ACC to extend cover to include those who have experienced sexual harassment.

Its executive director Lisa Markwick said employees are entitled to cover someone if they receive physical injuries but mental injury from unwanted sexual comments or behaviours is just as damaging.

"It's not difficult to recognise mental harm and distress when it's being explained to you and link it to its cause, which in this case would be sexual harassment," she said.

Ms Markwick is optimistic that the extension will become a reality and said she was happy to talk to government about how to implement changes.

ACC lawyer John Miller supported the cause but said having the cover could be a double-edged sword.

"Although you have cover, your entitlements may be poor, and if you have cover you can't sue anyone for damage, so it needs to be thought through carefully," he said.

But fellow ACC lawyer Hazel Armstrong said it was important for victims to get help straight away.

"What I'm trying to avoid for the victims is them having to go through their HR, naming the victim and going through some form of litigation prior to receiving any treatment," she said.

Ms Armstrong said ACC is already available for people dealing with mental stress after witnessing traumatic events and this would simply be an extension of that.

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Main problem

Posted on 05-06-2018 18:26 | By astex

Ask 100 people what defines sexual harassment and you will get 100 different answers. Same with the loose term "bullying". All different things to different people. Some of these terms are now used for almost anything that the "snowflakes" can’t handle.

Agree

Posted on 05-06-2018 11:01 | By overit

with you Caveman. Another chance to rort the system possibly. The flood gates will open.

SORRY, but sexual harassment is NOT an ACCIDENT!

Posted on 04-06-2018 22:52 | By The Caveman

AND I DO NOT CONDONE SEXUAL HARASSMENT.!!! It is a deliberate act that is a criminal offence. Report it to the POLICE. The original concept of ACC – was an ACCIDENT compensation scheme!! Sexual harassment is NOT an accident. It is a pre-mediated action – NO accident ! And as such under the original Intention of ACC, it is totally outside the original Intention of ACC