Submission to the Victorian Ministerial Taskforce on Workplace Sexual Harassment
Our submission to this review highlighted opportunities to improve prevention and survivor-focussed responses to workplace sexual harassment by providing restorative options.
The CIJ welcomed the opportunity to provide a submission to the Victorian Ministerial Taskforce on Workplace Sexual Harassment.
The prevalence of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces is increasing. In the 2012 Australian Human Rights Commission national survey, it was found that 21 per cent of respondents experienced workplace sexual harassment. In its 2018 survey, this had increased to 33 per cent.
In March 2021, Acting Premier James Merlino joined Minister for Workplace Safety Ingrid Stitt and Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams in announcing the establishment of a Ministerial Taskforce on Workplace Sexual Harassment to develop reforms that will prevent and better respond to sexual harassment in workplaces. To support this work, the Victorian Government conducted a consultation from 25 June to 9 August 2021 to hear from the Victorian community.
Our submission encourages the Taskforce to consider a broader, more transparent and flexible set of options and pathways than is presently generally available in response to reports and incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace. In our view, responses that are designed by reference to, and apply victim-centred, therapeutic justice and restorative justice principles are far more likely to result in meaningful engagement of all parties concerned (and therefore in meaningful behavioural and cultural change) than are those constructed primarily to drive compliance with externally imposed rules and requirements.
To read our submission, please follow the link below.
The Victorian Government recently released their response to the Ministerial Taskforce addressing sexual harassment in Victorian workplaces.
In July this year, the Ministerial Taskforce’s recommendations, along with the Victorian Government’s response were released. Following on from consultations from the community, in which over 30 submissions were received, the Taskforce made 26 recommendations across four reform pillars:
- preventing sexual harassment from occurring
- supporting workers to report sexual harassment
- enforcing compliance when there is a breach of health and safety duties
- raising awareness and promoting accountability in workplaces across Victoria.
CIJ is pleased that the Government has accepted-in principle Recommendation 20 which recommends the Victorian Government explore options to pilot a restorative justice service model to address workplace sexual harassment. The Victorian government stated that they support and recognise the importance of restorative justice practices as an alternative and therapeutic pathway, and they will consider a restorative justice pilot to address Workplace sexual harassment in the Victorian Public Sector.