Sexual harassment and dispute resolution

There is an alternative to legal or court action for people who experience sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment can have a serious impact on someone's health and wellbeing, for a significant amount of time. Often people blame themselves or feel responsible for what has happened.

People who are sexually harassed in employment, goods and services, accommodation and education have the option of making a complaint to the Commission to access our dispute resolution service. 

There is no mandatory period in which a complaint may be made, although it is preferred that a complaint about sexual harassment is made within twelve months. 

What is dispute resolution?

Dispute resolution at the Commission enables a complainant to provide an outline of their allegations in a safe environment. They can freely explain what happened, the damage caused to them and hurt experienced. Complainants can attend the meeting with a support person or advocate. 

Providing an opportunity for people to explore ways of resolving the dispute by mutual agreement, dispute resolution is free and timely. 

Dispute resolution is designed based on the needs of the parties to ensure no harm occurs to any participant. It does not prevent a person from taking their matter further if it can't be resolved.

How does dispute resolution work?

Experienced conciliators ensure the process is fair for all, transparent, voluntary, accessible, impartial and confidential. There is no requirement for written responses or evidence to be provided. 

Parties consent to participate in dispute resolution with the conciliator setting protocols for discussion, building rapport with parties and exploring alternative ways to engage in dispute resolution. 

What do participants say about the Commission?

"Staff of the Commission were extremely helpful and compassionate."

"Very satisfied, regular contact made, kept informed of progress. Some people do not realise the Commission assists with dispute resolution."

"Professional and supportive, understanding and courteous. It was very tough day for me."

"Let me take this opportunity to once again thank you sincerely for your efforts in my case. Your attitude and commitment to my achieving a positive outcome has gone a long way to making me feel validated and worthy of the acknowledgement I have received. You helped me feel at ease."

"Thank you once again so much for your assistance. Words cannot express my gratitude. It is now time to move on and forward."

How do I make a complaint?

If you have been sexually harassed you can call the Commission on 1300 292 153, chat with us online or submit an online complaint form

If you prefer, you can download a hard copy of the form and post to Manager, Dispute Resolution Unit, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, 3/204 Lygon Street, Carlton 3053. 

You can also seek counselling or support from 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732).

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