Sexual harassment of any kind is unacceptable. For lawyers, it is also conduct that is capable of constituting professional misconduct.
In February 2019 we released a statement (Statement: Sexual harassment in the Victorian Legal Profession) making it clear that this issue will be a key focus area for us in the coming years: we will investigate sexual harassment complaints we receive, initiate our own complaints where appropriate, and in either case use the powers we have to address it.
Recently, we undertook a state-wide survey looking at the prevalence and nature of sexual harassment in Victoria’s legal workplaces.
The survey was conducted on our behalf by leading market research firm Ipsos, and was sent directly to all Victorian lawyers with current practising certificates. It was also open to former Victorian lawyers, others who had worked or were working in Victoria’s legal workplaces, and members of the public who are or have been clients of Victorian lawyers.
A second survey was sent to the principals of all law practices. This survey focused on the training, policies and processes in place in Victoria’s legal workplaces to prevent and manage sexual harassment.
The survey period ran from the end of July to early September 2019. Both surveys are now closed.
The survey results will help us gain an accurate and comprehensive understanding of sexual harassment in the profession and the wider legal workforce in Victoria. Results will be published when they are available.
If you have any questions, or would like more information about either survey, please call us on 03 9679 8001.
We have produced a fact sheet on sexual harassment for the profession, with links to other resources.
Reporting sexual harassment
If you wish to discuss a matter confidentially, or make a complaint relating to sexual harassment by a lawyer, please:
- call us on (03) 9679 8001 and ask to talk to a member of the Sexual Harassment Complaints Team, or
- email email@example.com, or
- send mail addressed to the Sexual Harassment Complaints Team, Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner, GPO Box 492, Melbourne VIC 3001.