Challenges remain for Victoria Police to address sexual harassment and sex discrimination

The Commission today launched the first progress report of the 2015 Independent Review into sex discrimination and sexual harassment, including predatory behaviour, within Victoria Police.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton said that transforming the culture of a workforce that has served the community for 165 years is an enormous task but that Victoria Police has shown it is prepared to meet the challenge.

Commissioner Hilton commended Victoria Police for its work to date to address gender inequality within its ranks and noted there was still work to do ensure women are treated equitably and respectfully within the organisation.

"The organisation has shown real leadership and tenacity to bring the change that is needed to create a fair and inclusive workplace and acknowledges that there are still challenges ahead," Commissioner Hilton said.

"For the police to be respected and deemed legitimate in the eyes of the public, it must role model the kinds of behaviours and attitudes that it demands from community members.

"Victoria Police did not shy away from the troubling findings of the Independent Review, which revealed a pervasive culture of sex discrimination and sexual harassment within its workforce that left many women feeling harmed and excluded.

"The Commission commends the positive work to date and urges Victoria Police to continue towards the full implementation of all 20 recommendations of the Independent Review," Commissioner Kristen Hilton said.

Across the organisation, 21 projects have been created and resourced including the creation of Victoria Police's first Gender Equality Strategy and Action Plan, a parental leave backfill program for general duties police officers, the commencement of extensive data collection on key gender equality metrics, and reform to the organisation's workplace flexibility policy.

Challenges going forward include rolling out organisation-wide training for all employees on sex discrimination and sexual harassment, reviewing role capabilities, and implementing a redress and restorative engagement scheme as recommended by the Independent Review.

"The success of enduring reform is building the structures to enforce the commitment of an organisation beyond changes in leadership and political environment. These structural foundations are beginning to become evident," Commissioner Hilton said.

"This work is not just about ensuring the safety and respect in the workplace, it's about increasing the capability of the organisation to deliver on the expectations of the community and the demands of modern-day policing.

"Tackling the most challenging and entrenched problems facing our communities requires diversity of thought, skills and experience. A more diverse Victoria Police will be better placed to serve the Victorian community."

The Commission will commence Phase 3 in 2018, which will be a final audit to look at the impact of the reforms three years after the Phase 1 Review.

Download the progress report: Independent Review into sex discrimination and sexual harassment, including predatory behaviour in Victoria Police: Phase 2 Audit 2017

Media contact

Megan Breen
Mobile: 0417 449 420
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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