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Sexual Harassment Still ‘unacceptably Common’, Survey Finds

Sexual harassment still ‘unacceptably common’, survey finds

Sexual harassment continues to be unacceptably common, according to the latest survey by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Meanwhile, many workers believe their employer does not do enough to prevent sexual harassment from happening.

Sexual harassment still common

The ‘Time for Respect’ report is the fifth national survey on sexual harassment in Australian workplaces.

The AHRC spoke to more than 10,000 workers over the age of 15 for the survey.

It found that 33 percent of people had experienced sexual harassment in the past five years.

41 percent were women and 26 percent were men.

Other key findings

  • Most sexual harassment in Australian workplaces is carried out by men.
  • Half of incidents are repeated and of those, half are ongoing for more than one year.
  • Reporting remains low with only 18% of sexual harassment incidents reported.
AHRC InfoGraphic Sexual Harassment Statistics

One in three workers report experiencing sexual harassment. (Source: AHRC)

Worst industries

This year’s survey also reflects a growing number of Australians working from home or remotely, leading to a higher prevalence of tech-facilitated abuse.

The worst industries include:

  • Information, Media and Telecommunications (64 percent)
  • Arts and Recreation Services (44 percent)
  • Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services (40 percent)
  • Retail Trade (40 percent)
  • Accommodation and Food Services (34 percent).

Women experience sexual harassment at a higher rate in the workplace than men.

Workers under 30, non-binary people, queer folk, First Nations people and people with disabilities also experience higher rates of sexual harassment.

Sexual Harassment InfoGraphic AHRC

Forms of sexual harassment.  (Source: AHRC)

Employers can do more

Meanwhile, one third of those surveyed believe their employer is not doing enough to provide a safe workplace free from sexual harassment.

This week, parliament approved changes to national legislation relating to sexual harassment.

The changes require employers to take positive steps to eliminate sex discrimination and also sexual harassment in their workplaces.

Employment lawyer Stephen Dryley-Collins from Sexual Harassment Claims said there are things employers can do.

“It is important that employers provide regular sexual harassment training for staff in addition to putting strong robust policies in place,” he said.

Mr Dryley-Collins also said workers who experience sexual harassment should seek urgent expert advice.

“There is help available and substantial compensation is also a possibility,” he said.

“Every Australian worker is entitled to safe workplace – free from sexual harassment.”

If you have experienced sexual harassment, we can help.

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