The Australian Human Rights Commission is calling for submissions to the National Inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces.
The National Inquiry, led by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins, would like to hear from individuals and organisations across the country about their experiences relating to workplace sexual harassment.
"This Inquiry presents a unique opportunity for change. It will give all Australians the chance to have their voices heard on an issue that affects, in some way, almost every workplace in the country," Commissioner Jenkins said.
"Since 2002, the results of the Commission’s national workplace sexual harassment surveys have consistently told us that sexual harassment is a regular occurrence. 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.
"We know that Australia is not the only nation with this problem, but we are the only country so far to leverage the power of an independent national human rights institution to find solutions," Commissioner Jenkins said.
Over the next 12 months, the National Inquiry will consider the drivers of sexual harassment in the workplace and the adequacy of the existing legal framework, including a review of complaints made to state and territory anti-discrimination agencies.
The National Inquiry will also look at how people are using technology and social media to perpetrate sexual harassment in the workplace.
Commissioner Jenkins said that the National Inquiry will provide employees, employers, academics and all members of the public an opportunity to help develop solutions to the problem. It will identify examples of existing good practice, and make recommendations for change, providing a way forward for preventing and responding to sexual harassment in the workplace.
“We are at a turning point in our community where there is a very strong appetite for change. It is the perfect time to build on the momentum and conduct this National Inquiry."
The National Inquiry will not be investigating individual allegations of sexual harassment. If someone does want to make a complaint they can contact the Australian Human Rights Commission’s National Information Service.