Vic gov offers counselling, recompense for police staff who’ve faced sexual harassment

By Shannon Jenkins

Friday December 13, 2019

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Victoria Police employees could be eligible to receive payment and support for facing harmful behaviour in the workplace, following recommendations from a human rights review into the force.

The Department of Justice and Community Safety will implement a new scheme which allows current and former Victoria Police workers who have experienced workplace sexual harassment or sex discrimination access to counselling and restorative engagement.

Employees could potentially also receive financial payment under the Restorative Engagement and Redress Scheme, according to Minister for Police and Emergency Services Lisa Neville.

“This is about providing meaningful, confidential and supportive engagement to Victoria Police employees who have experienced sexual harassment and sex discrimination in the workplace,” she said.

“This kind of behaviour is unacceptable, and while there have already been significant steps undertaken to stamp out sexual harassment and sex discrimination within police, there is still is more to do.”

Applications have opened, with the scheme set to commence from July 2020. All former and current Victoria Police staff can apply, including VPS staff, uniformed members, Protective Services Officers and Police Custody Officers.

The government developed the scheme in collaboration with the Community and Public Sector Union and the Police Association of Victoria.

It follows a review into sexual harassment and discrimination in Victoria Police from the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, and delivers on a key recommendation from its third review report, released in August. One quarter of female employees (599) and almost one in 10 male employees (344) reported having experienced sexual harassment in the past three years. The commission also found ongoing, systemic discrimination against women within Victoria Police.

However, the commission did acknowledge that Victoria Police has taken “decisive action” to address the widespread structural and systemic discrimination against women in the workforce.

More information can be found on the scheme website. Potential applicants can access a confidential discussion by calling 1300 389 521, or emailing [email protected]

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