The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released new analysis of its latest Personal Safety Survey. The ABS analysis reveals the need for a broader, ongoing conversation about sexual harassment in Australian communities.

The ABS report confirms the prevalence of sexual harassment in Australia. The figures reveal that 53% of women and 25% of men have experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment in their lifetimes. For women, the most commonly experienced form of sexual harassment was inappropriate comments about their body or sex life (33%), followed by unwanted touching (30%). For men, the most common behaviour was unwanted touching (13%). The analysis also found younger people and those struggling to meet basic living expenses were more likely to experience sexual harassment.

The ABS figures support similar data from the 2018 Australian Human Rights Commission survey on sexual harassment at work.

Sexual harassment occurs both in social and professional spheres, but can often take a more covert form in workplaces making it more difficult to call out.

Although existing legislation such as the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth) prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace, it is the obligation of the employer to provide a safe environment for all employees and other workplace participants.

If you would like to learn more about the ways in which your company can work to create a safer environment for employees and other workplace participants, please reach out to our team.

Kelly Ralph, Senior Associate, can be contacted at (03) 8621 4500.