National inquiry into sexual harassment in the workplace gets underway

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National inquiry into sexual harassment in the workplace gets underway

Workplace sexual harassment is an organisational, criminal and ethical issue. Given the evidence that shows that experiencing sexual harassment at work can lead to a range of psychological outcomes, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) it is also regarded as a public health issue.

On 20 June 2018 Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, announced a national inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces.

The Commission wants to hear from as many people as possible. To facilitate this, the inquiry involves a submission process, as well as public consultations held in all Australian capital cities and a number of regional cities later in 2018. The national inquiry webpage will provide further details on the timeframes, including for the submission and consultation processes, and locations of the public consultations. 

The Inquiry will consider the economic impact of sexual harassment, the drivers of these behaviours and the adequacy of the existing legal framework. Additionally, the National Inquiry will look at how people are using technology and social media to perpetrate sexual harassment in the workplace. The Inquiry we will also identify examples of existing good practice, and will make recommendations for change, providing a way forward for preventing and responding to sexual harassment in the workplace.

Early indications from the commission’s 2018 survey, to be released in the coming months, are that sexual harassment has significantly increased over the past five years.

Find out more about how to make a submission on the National Inquiry website