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Workplace Sexual Harassment: Resources & Support Services In Every State

Two in five women in Australia have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Let that sink in for a moment. With #FiredUp, Refinery29 Australia makes an ongoing commitment to spotlighting this serious and pervasive issue through survivor interviews, informative features and ongoing news coverage. The ultimate goal? To help dismantle workplace sexual harassment and assault in Australia. 
In a post #MeToo, post-Bombshell world, where celebrities wear black on red carpets in solidarity with victims, and our very own Parliament House has seen a pervasive sexist culture turned on its head, it’d be easy to think that sexual harassment in the workplace isn't particularly common anymore.  But unfortunately, the issue is rife across Australia, with two out of five women experiencing workplace sexual harassment.
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What is sexual harassment?


As defined by SafeWork Australia, sexual harassment refers to “any unwelcome sexual advance, unwelcome request for sexual favours or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in circumstances where a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would anticipate the possibility that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.”
While it helps to have definitions laid out, sexual harassment is not always so clear. It can be insidious, and subtle enough that victims can be gaslighted into shrugging it off — making reporting even more difficult. But if it feels inappropriate, chances are, it is.
Perhaps it's not surprising then that only 17% of people who experienced sexual harassment at work in the previous five years actually made a formal report or complaint about the harassment. Even worse, the unfortunate reality is that even those who do manage to make reports to their workplace human resources departments, seldom feel wholly supported.
But though there is a power in knowing you are not alone, it’s important for victims to know they have options. First, it’s compulsory that companies have anti-harassment policies in place. However, since these don't stop perpetrators, knowing where else to turn is always a good idea, whether that means anonymous counselling or seeking out legal advice.
Below, we break down resources, legal services and support systems you can seek out by state if you, or anyone your know, has experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. 

National

Australian Human Rights Commission

The Australian Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory organisation established by the Federal Parliament. Its purpose is to protect and promote human rights in Australia and internationally, including in the workplace.
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Victims of sexual harassment in the workplace are encouraged to file complaints to the AHRC. What the comission then does is hears both sides of the story and, where appropriate, aims to resolve the matter through conciliation. And, if you're not pleased with the outcome, you can escalate your case to the Federal Court. For more information on your rights and how to get in touch with the AHRC, head here.

1800 Respect 

This national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service provides support and guidance for people experiencing, or at the risk of experiencing, violence and abuse from their friends, family or colleagues.
If you need an open ear and informed counselling, head here for 24/7 care.

Fair Work Commission

Australia's national workplace relations tribunal is where you can turn if you feel that your own workplace's human resources department is not taking appropriate measures.  This independent body has the power to carry out a range of functions including, but not limited to, facilitating good faith bargaining and making enterprise agreements, and resolving a range of collective and individual workplace disputes through conciliation, mediation and, in some cases, public tribunal hearings.
This could be a great resource for those involved in issues surrounding sexual harassment, from unfair dismissals to coercion.
For more about their processes and services, head here.

National Relay Service

This is a service for those who are hearing or speech impaired to express their concerns or report issues of discrimination and/or harassment in the workplace.
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For more information on how to get in touch, head here.

Support Act

Different industries can pose complex challenges for victims of sexual harassment. For those in the entertainment field, there is support out there. Support Act's Wellbeing Helpline is a free, confidential phone counselling service, available 24/7 to anyone anywhere in Australia who works in music, the performing arts or other creative industries.
Head here for more information or contact details.

New South Wales

Working Women’s Legal Service

The WWLS NSW is an independent non-profit organisation that provides a voice for women in NSW, and promotes access to justice, particularly for women who are disadvantaged by their social and economic circumstances.
Their mission is to foster legal and social change to redress the inequalities that women experience through legal advice and casework, community legal education, and law and policy reform. You can read more about their extensive services here.

SafeWork / Anti-Discrimination NSW

If you're experiencing discriminatory behaviour, whether that be due to gender, race, or sexual orientation, then SafeWork is an avenue where you can seek information and resources, or, move on to file a formal complaint with the Anti-Discrimination Board.
For more information or to lodge a complaint, head here.

Law Society NSW

Sexual harassment is strictly against the law and legal action can be taken. If you're after a referral for a solicitor, or just some general advice on your legal standing in the matter, The Law Society NSW is a great resource to access all of your queries. Read more about how to get in touch here.
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Victoria

WorkSafe Victoria

Reckoning with your circumstances, or those of someone you know, can be difficult. For all information on what exactly constitutes as sexual harassment, and what options are there for a victim to take up, head to WorkSafe Victoria's site.

Human Rights Victoria

Once you've decided to take action, it's worth getting in touch with Human Rights Victoria so they can guide you on how to best move forward with formal reports.
For more information on their services and application process, head here.

Sexual Assault Crisis Line

SACL is a proactive leader in supporting, advocating and providing a crisis response for people who have experienced sexual violence.

For a free, after-hours counselling service for people who have experienced both past and recent sexual assault, call 1800 806 292 or head here for more information.

Northern Territory

NT Working Women's Centre

The NT Working Women’s Centre is a community based non-profit organisation with a mission to support women. They provide free and confidential advice to women about work-related matters, including sexual harassment. For more information on their work, head here.

Sexual Assault Referral Centres

Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC) is a state government-supported centre that offers support for those who have experienced, or are currently experiencing, sexual assault in any capacity. For more information and directories for relevant hotlines and support services, head here.
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WorkSafe NT

Reckoning with your circumstances, or those of someone you know, can be difficult. For all information on what exactly constitutes as sexual harassment, and what options are there for a victim to take up, head to WorkSafe NT.

ACT

Canberra Rape Crisis Centre

The CRCC is an incredible source for victims, detailing step-by-step processes that they can take to report incidents, as well as collating external resources that they can access such as counselling and support in housing for those in need of it. For more information on their services, head here.

ACT Human Rights Commission

The Human Rights Commission can investigate and conciliate complaints regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, and can offer both support and referrals for legal, financial and psychological support. To find out more, head here.

Canberra Sexual Health Centre

For victims of assault, the Forensic and Medical Sexual Assault Care (FAMSAC) provides a safe and caring environment for testing, forensic evidence-gathering, post medical care and counselling. Services are free for all patients, and information and treatment is strictly confidential. For more information, head to their website.

WorkSafe ACT

Reckoning with your circumstances, or those of someone you know, can be difficult. For all information on what exactly constitutes as sexual harassment, and what options are there for a victim to take up, head to WorkSafe ACT.

Queensland

WorkSafe Queensland

For information on what exactly constitutes as sexual harassment, and what options are available for victims, head to WorkSafe Queensland's site. There you'll find a comprehensive guide to appropriate workplace conduct.
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Working Women Queensland

As part of the Basic Rights Queensland group, the WWQ provides services by phone, web and representation to employment commissions where women are unable to represent themselves. At their website, you'll find how to get in touch with over-the-phone advice services that cover sexual harassment in the workplace, domestic violence and gendered discrimination.

Legal Aid Queensland

For a comprehensive guide to the legalities of sexual harassment in the workplace, head to Legal Aid Queensland. There you'll find a breakdown of your rights, and the steps you can take as a victim.

Western Australia

Sexual Assault Resource Centre

The Sexual Assault Resource Centre is based in Perth and provides a range of free services to people in the metropolitan area affected by sexual violence or misconduct. These include free telephone advice and support to those in non-metropolitan areas, and the organisation has a 24-hour Emergency Line that victims can use. Learn more here.

Waratah Support Centre

The Waratah Support Centre provides free, specialised and therapeutic intervention, counselling and support services for people who have experienced sexual assault and/or sexual abuse and/or family domestic violence.  The team provides services in the South West Region with safe sites in Bunbury, Busselton and Collie as well as Outreach Services. To learn more about their counselling options and contact details, head here.

WorkSafe WA

Reckoning with your circumstances, or those of someone you know, can be difficult. For all information on what exactly constitutes as sexual harassment, and what options are there for a victim to take up, head to WorkSafe WA.
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South Australia

Working Women's Centre South Australia

The WWCSA is a non-government organisation that provides free advice and confidential information, support and representation to vulnerable workers residing in South Australia about their rights at work.
If you, or anyone you know, may be in need of their services, head here to find out more.

Safework SA

If you, or someone you know is struggling to navigate a situation that they're not sure constitutes as sexual harassment, or whether or not their experiences demand legal action, look to Safework to stay informed of appropriate workplace behaviour and what your work can and can't do according to state law. For further information and resources, head here.

Yarrow Place Rape & Sexual Assault Service

Yarrow Place Rape and Sexual Assault Service is a service for anyone who has been sexually assaulted. Yarrow Place is part of the Youth and Women's Safety and Wellbeing Division of the Women's and Children's Health Network. Their services include a 24-hr crisis service, inclusive of counselling and medical care, as well as a host of other support systems detailed on their website.

Tasmania

Laurel House

Laurel House is a not-for-profit, community-based sexual assault support service that operates across the North, North-East and North-West Tasmania. They provide a 24/7 support hotline, free counselling, training and education on a multitude of subjects, including sexual harassment. For more information on their services and how to get in touch, head here.

Equal Opportunity Tasmania

For some victims, reporting an incident can take time, and not everyone is abreast of their legal rights. For information on what constitutes sexual harassment, you can contact the people at Equal Opportunity Tasmania. Not only can they tak you through your options, but they can assist in writing up a formal complaint. For their full services, head here.

WorkSafe TAS

For information on what exactly constitutes as sexual harassment, and what options are available for victims, head to WorkSafe Tasmania's site. There you'll find a comprehensive guide to appropriate workplace conduct.

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