16 November 2023
The Champions of Change Building confidence and trust in workplace responses to sexual harassment resource draws on insights from Champions of Change Members and 19 recent cultural reviews on sexual harassment to explain why the current systems for reporting and responding to sexual harassment are failing both individuals and organisations.
As part of our broader sexual harassment prevention efforts, there is a pressing need to rethink and redesign workplace responses to sexual harassment which to date have largely addressed sexual harassment as an issue of legal risk rather than human harm. Ongoing, holistic support for the people impacted, choices for how they report issues, input into resolution options, and long-term care and recovery must be key features of future sexual harassment response systems.
Building trust and confidence in reporting systems calls for a fundamental shift in the way organisations view reports and reporters of sexual harassment. Organisations need to shift from viewing sexual harassment as a complaint with the potential to damage reputations to an opportunity to ‘repair’ harm and help the organisation learn so further harm is prevented. It has become increasingly evident that person-centred and trauma-informed processes have been absent in most workplace responses to sexual harassment that have largely addressed sexual harassment as an issue of legal risk rather than human harm.
The Resource outlines a transformative approach for managing cases when they arise, providing clear and practical guidance to help foster much needed confidence and trust in organisational response systems. It draws advice from experts, including Full Stop Australia, and recommends organisations adopt person-centred, trauma-informed, safe and fair practices for better outcomes.
“Reporting an experience of sexual harassment ought not to be worse than the incident itself. But that is the reality for many people. Taking a person-centred approach puts the individual impacted at the centre of decision making and planning and gives that person choice about how the organisation should respond.”
Elizabeth Broderick AO, Founder Champions of Change Coalition.