In recent years, Victoria Police has been a leader in reforming community understanding and responses to family violence and sexual assault. It has put the needs of victims of violence at the centre of its approach, providing a model for other police services in Australia and internationally to follow.
Tackling violence against women in the community is a key priority for Victoria Police. As this report makes clear, however, it is time for Victoria Police to give the same urgency to addressing sex discrimination and sexual harassment within its own ranks. This requires addressing the drivers of these issues – unequal power between men and women and rigid adherence to gender stereotypes – that are supported by structural and attitudinal barriers to gender equality.
An entrenched culture of ‘everyday sexism’, coupled with a high tolerance for sexual harassment, has left many current and former Victoria Police employees harmed, sidelined and deeply disillusioned. In addition to the serious consequences for safety and welfare, sex discrimination and sexual harassment carries significant costs for the organisation.
Victoria Police should be commended for commissioning this Independent Review into the prevalence and impact of sex discrimination and sexual harassment, including predatory behaviour, within the organisation.
The findings of the Review are outlined in this report, along with a comprehensive and integrated set of recommendations that seek to promote safety and gender equality within Victoria Police and drive organisational transformation.
The Review will continue to assist and encourage Victoria Police in its efforts to reset the workplace culture so that all employees feel valued, respected and able to reach their potential.