Sexual Harassment still widespread in Australian workplaces

Elizabeth Broderick, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, today launched Working without fear: Results of the sexual harassment national telephone survey 2012 today, which shows that sexual harassment is not only widespread in Australian workplaces, but that progress in addressing it has stalled.

The report reveals that just over one in five people (21%) were sexually harassed in the workplace in the past five years.  It shows that workplace sexual harassment is a particular problem for women.  Elizabeth Broderick has urged the Government and employers to put in place effective prevention strategies to address workplace sexual harassment.  She called on everyone to stand together to defend the right to work in a safe and healthy environment free from harassment.

“Sexual harassment is unlawful and has no place in Australian workplaces,” Ms Broderick said. “Eradicating sexual harassment from our workplaces will require leadership and a genuine commitment from everyone – government, employers, employer associations, unions and employees.”

The survey provides the only national and trend data on sexual harassment in Australian workplaces:

» Download the survey

Survey findings

  • One in five (21%) people were sexually harassed in the workplace in the past five years.
  • Sexual harassment affects more women than men. A quarter (25%) of women and one in six (16%) men were sexually harassed in the workplace in the past five years.
  • Nearly four out of five (79%) harassers were men.
  • Ninety per cent (90%) of women were harassed by a man.
  • One-third (33%) of women and less than one in ten (9%) men were sexually harassed in their lifetime.
  • More than half (51%) of bystanders (people who saw or became aware of sexual harassment) took action to prevent or reduce the harm of sexual harassment