Victoria Police is one of Victoria’s oldest and most valued public institutions. It is entrusted with a critical role in protecting and serving our community, and it is the place that many Victorians turn in their times of greatest need. With over 19,000 employees, it has a footprint that expands to every corner of the state and its people carry out diverse functions in what are often challenging environments. It is an organisation that is grappling with a rapidly evolving law enforcement environment, and the community it seeks to reflect and protect is more diverse than it has ever been.
Over the past two years, Victoria Police has set its path for a transformational journey. Through significant investment and sustained efforts across a broad range of areas, Victoria Police has commenced implementation of a broad package of reforms that seek to reduce the prevalence of sex discrimination and sexual harassment within its workforce. At their most basic level, successful implementation of the reforms will ensure that Victoria Police complies with its legislative obligation to provide a safe workplace, but in delivering on the reforms Victoria Police has the ability to realise its broader strategic vision for a more capable, equitable and connected policing service that better meets the needs of the Victorian community
In 2014, Victoria Police commissioned an independent review into sex discrimination and sexual harassment, including predatory behaviour, within its own workforce. The Phase 1 Review sought to understand the prevalence, drivers and impact of these behaviours on Victoria Police personnel. It revealed a pervasive culture of sexism and sexual harassment that left many women feeling disillusioned and sidelined, hindering the organisation’s capability and its ability to live up to community expectations. In 2015 the Phase 1 Review made 20 recommendations to drive broad structural change across the organisation, with a focus on improving organisational responses to harm and preventing harm through building a more diverse and inclusive culture.
This is the first of two audits to assess Victoria Police’s progress towards building a safer, more respectful organisation. This Audit, Phase 2 of the review, sought to assess Victoria Police’s progress towards implementing the 20 recommendations. It analyses the work undertaken by Victoria Police to create and embed structural change. Phase 3 of the Review will assess the impact of the reforms and assess whether there has been a measurable improvement across a range of key indicators. This will include assessing the prevalence of sex discrimination and sexual harassment since the Phase 1 Review, and key markers of gender equality such as workplace flexibility, the attraction and retention of women across all levels, and women’s ability to progress through the organisation.
The Phase 2 Audit has found that Victoria Police has undertaken significant work towards the successful implementation of the 20 recommendations made in the Phase 1 Review. It has demonstrated its commitment to building a more gender diverse, safe and capable organisation that role models behaviours and attitudes to the Victorian community. Further work is required to deliver on the intent of all 20 recommendations, embed changes and ensure their enduring success. Full implementation of this body of work, supported by effective data collection and rigorous evaluation, will work to transform Victoria Police’s culture and its capability to deliver effective policing services that meet the contemporary needs of the community.