Survey reveals sexual harassment in the workplace a serious problem

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins has recently released new figures showing that sexual harassment continues to be a major problem in Australian workplaces.

“One in three workers in Australia said that they had been sexually harassed at work over the last five years, compared with one in five from our 2012 survey and one in ten in 2003,” said Commissioner Jenkins.

“What is clear is that this conduct begins the moment people enter the workplace and that harassers prey on those less powerful than them.

“Young people between the ages of 18 and 29 were most likely to be sexually harassed at work.”

The survey of 10,000 people was conducted by Roy Morgan Research. It was shown that sexual harassment continues to affect men and women.

“We found that 39% of Australian women and 26% of Australian men told us they have been sexually harassed at work in the past five years, bot ha significant increase on 2012,” the Commissioner said.

It was also found out that 4 out of every 5 harassers in the workplace were men.

Commissioner Jenkins also said the report shows that formal reporting of workplace sexual harassment continues to be low, with only 17% of people making a report or complaint.

“We know from our research that many people are afraid to report their experiences of unwelcome sexual conduct out of fear that they won’t be believed, that it’s not worth it, that they’ll be ostracized and that it could damage their career,” she said.

“It’s also worrying that almost half of those who did make a formal report said nothing changed at their organisation, as a result of the complaint.

“Unwelcome sexual conduct on this scale in the workplace not only causes distress to workers and colleagues, it impacts workplace productivity and impedes career progression, which has an economic impact on businesses and families,” the Commissioner said.

The results of the survey will inform the Australian Human Rights Commission’s National Inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces, which will begin public consultations later this month.

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