The Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins has announced a national inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces.
Commissioner Jenkins said in recent months, many women and men have come forward publicly to tell their stories of sexual harassment in the workplace, shining a light on this issue both in Australia, and around the world.
“These personal accounts have made clear the devastating impact sexual harassment can have on individuals’ lives, as well as the significant costs to business and the community.
“This spotlight on sexual harassment has turned the tide and created a clear and unprecedented appetite for change.
“I am delighted to announce that the Australian Human Rights Commission will be undertaking this National Inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces, and I commend the Australian Government on their decision to fund this work,” Commissioner Jenkins said.
The 12-month inquiry will consider the economic impact of sexual harassment, the drivers of these behaviours and the adequacy of the existing legal framework.
It will speak with individuals and organisations from all over Australia about their experiences.
It will also identify examples of existing good practice, and make recommendations for change, providing a way forward for preventing sexual harassment in the workplace.
The Australian Human Rights Commission is currently conducting the fourth national survey into workplace sexual harassment, with results expected to be released in August.
Commissioner Jenkins said early indications show that rates have increased significantly since the last survey was conducted in 2012.
“This National Inquiry is an Australian and, we believe, a world first in responding to the issue of workplace sexual harassment.
“It’s time to work together to create a society which is safe and respectful, and where sexual harassment at work is no longer something people simply have to put up with.
“I believe that this National Inquiry is a huge step in the right direction,” Commissioner Jenkins said.
For more information about the inquiry please visit: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/national-inquiry-sexual-harassment