"Our cultures must actively be anti-sexual harassment"

International Women’s Day has always been a day of celebration.

But how much has really changed? It is absolutely clear that things haven’t changed sufficiently or quickly enough for Grace, for Brittany, for Chanel, and for the thousands and thousands of others who have been subjected to and suffered from sexual harassment, bullying and sexual abuse in workplaces, schools and our community 

What can be done now? Our cultures must be actively anti-sexual harassment. Workplaces need to be psychologically-safe to enable victims to speak up, on their own terms, and in their own words. Our supporting systems need to change and work together, especially workplace health & safety and discrimination regulatory frameworks. And we have to actively educate and talk about how to make our workplaces safe for all, no matter how big or small they are.

All of this is driven by leadership teams. The change must come from the top.

Let's take this urgent step forward to creating workplaces that are free of sexual harassment, bullying and sexual abuse. 

- AHRI CEO Sarah McCann-Bartlett


What's next for AHRI?

  • AHRI is making our recently-updated workplace sexual harassment templates and guidance documents freely available to all to support HR, managers and employers. 
  • AHRI will be working with other relevant associations and professional bodies, including the Council of Small Business of Australia (COSBOA) and the Committee for Economic Development Australia (CEDA) to ensure our resources and training are relevant and practical for a wide range of businesses across Australia.
  • We will review and update AHRI's sexual harassment training, as well as our education accreditation processes, to help deliver on 'Recommendation 45' of the Australian Human Rights Commission's Respect@Work Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report.
  • We will work with our members, the Australian Human Rights Commission and other specialists and organisations to develop practical and timely guidance for HR and employers that will support and inform the Respect@Work recommendation for a positive duty in the Sex Discrimination Act for all employers to take reasonable and proportionate measures to eliminate sex discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation.

What can HR professionals do?

  1. Start by reading the AHRC's Respect@Work report. Encourage your leadership teams and line managers to do the same
  2. Undertake a culture audit through the lens of psychological safety
  3. Review and update your sexual harassment policies and procedures
  4. Include sexual harassment in your risk register and suggest it is discussed at board level as a business risk
  5. Have your leadership speak about sexual harassment, bullying and abuse in the workplace

All our sexual harassment templates and guidance documents are available to download, free of charge and open to all.