Victim advocate calls for independent commission in wake of Labour assault investigation

Labour should have ensured specialist support was available during the complaint process during an in-house investigation into a staffer, says victim advocate Louise Nicholas. 

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She talked to Q+A about the Labour Party’s handling of an assault allegation. Source: Q+A

"It needed that support around her so that any questions or anything that she needed, those needs were met," she said on TVNZ1's Q+A last night. 

"They need to have policies and procedures in place for allegations like this, regardless if it's a sexual assault or harassment or bullying."

Earlier this year, Labour began investigating after complaints were made against a staffer. An investigation panel was set up by Labour's highest governing body, the NZ Council. Three months later, the staffer was cleared.

Ms Nicholas said a victim-led approach for all organisations and businesses could be an independent body outside of the workplace, such as a victims commission. 

"There are people that don’t want to go to the police. I absolutely get that.

"But who do they go to? So, when all this bad stuff is happening and all they want is information, all they want is support, where to? There’s actually nothing out there."

"Any organisation should have an independent brought in to look at allegations like that. I don’t think it should be in-house."