Report Identifies Widespread Sexual Harassment

21 September 2018

The Australian Human Rights Commission has released the findings of its national survey on sexual harassment in Australian workplaces.

Between April and June 2018, the Australian Human Rights Commission conducted a national survey to investigate the prevalence, nature and reporting of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces and the community more broadly. The survey findings include the following:

  • One in three workers in Australia said that they had been sexually harassed at work over the last five years.
  • Young people between the ages of 18 and 29 were the most likely to be sexually harassed at work.
  • 39% of Australian women and 26% of Australian men told the Commission they have been sexually harassed at work in the past five years.

At the launch of the Report in mid-September, Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins said: "We can learn a great deal from this year’s national survey. It confirms that sexual harassment is widespread and pervasive. An extraordinary number, one in three people, have experienced sexual harassment at work in the last five years. This is a marked increase in the prevalence rate recorded by previous surveys. We cannot be certain if this is due to an increase in sexually harassing behaviours, or to greater awareness of the types of behaviours that constitute sexual harassment, or to other factors. What we are certain of is that this is a problem that affects millions of Australians and we, collectively, have a big job ahead to tackle the problem.

You can read the full report here.

The National Inquiry team will be conducting public consultations in all capital cities and some regional centres across Australia to further develop their understanding of workplace sexual harassment, its causes, impacts and best practice responses.

Consultations will be held in Hobart (26 September), Perth and Geraldton (week commencing 8 October), Adelaide (week commencing 15 October), Darwin (week commencing 29 October), Canberra (week commencing 12 November), Melbourne (weeks commencing 19 and 26 November), Brisbane and Townsville (week commencing 3 December), and Sydney and Albury/Wodonga (week commencing 11 February).

Public consultations are open to individuals and organisations who would like to contribute to the national conversation on this issue, providing their views, experiences and suggestions for change.

The National Inquiry team is also calling for online submissions, with the closing date on 31 January 2019. Go to the Human Rights Commission website to make an online submission.