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Making a complaint to VLSB+C about sexual harassment

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How to make a complaint

To make a complaint to the VLSB+C about sexual harassment by a lawyer you can call (03) 9679 8001, and speak to a member of our Sexual Harassment Complaints team, or send an email to harassmentcomplaints@lsbc.vic.gov.au.

Our Sexual Harassment Complaints team have specialised training in managing sexual harassment complaints. You can make an official complaint, which is managed via our regular complaints process, or you can provide information anonymously. 

You can speak to our sexual harassment complaints specialists to understand more about the process before deciding whether to make an official complaint.

Official complaint    

Sexual harassment by lawyers can constitute professional misconduct. 

We take all complaints about sexual harassment seriously. To make an official complaint, you will need to provide your name and contact details. If the complaint proceeds to an investigation we may be required to provide those details, along with information about the complaint, to the person we are investigating. This is so they can respond to the complaint. You can find out more about how our complaints process works here.

You can also contact us if you believe a Victorian legal practice has failed to take reasonable steps to ensure their lawyers engage in professional conduct.

Reporting anonymously 

If you have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment but do not want to make an official complaint you can contact us anonymously. We will not be able to investigate your specific incident, however we will be able to track and monitor incidents and identify potential ‘hot spots’ of harassment. Where we identify a ‘hot spot’ we can undertake a targeted compliance audit to assess how a firm is being managed and supervised.

Complaint case study

Amy is a junior solicitor at a law practice. She called to discuss her experience of sexual harassment perpetrated by a male barrister who the law practice regularly briefs. The behaviour involved discussions about his sex life, persistent invites to after work drinks with a sexual connotation, and inappropriate physical contact. 

Amy has not only been the recipient of the behaviour but has also witnessed it against others. When she raised the behaviour with one of the managing partners, his response was to remove the file from her and allocate it to a male solicitor.  One of the female partners is aware of the barrister’s behaviour so refuses to brief him but the law practice continues to do so. 

Amy is fearful to report the behaviour formally, as she is concerned about her reputation and the effect it may have on her career. Our complaints team is able to explain options to Amy. The information is also helpful for the VLSB+C to understand instances of harassment, trends in conduct and how to better direct education and training.

Make a complaint

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