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Some topics are tough to talk about. Discussing sexual harassment, pregnancy, parental leave and access to flexible work can be really hard.

Raise it! was a pilot project we developed and delivered to support and equip Victorian workers to have safe conversations about these important issues at work. The pilot was funded by the Victorian Office for Women.

By providing a holistic program incorporating preparation, education and conversation starter toolkits to help catalyse these conversations in a safe way, this pilot project evaluated how conversations addressing causes and consequences of sexual harassment and discrimination can help prevent these from occurring.

The Raise it! project also aimed to build stronger pathways and knowledge for addressing sexual harassment and discrimination when it occurred.

Pilot Process

From October 2018 – May 2019 the Commission piloted the program in seven diverse workplaces across Victoria.

The Raise It! program consisted of key activities which can be categorised under three stages;

1 Preparation

This stage included engagement with pilot sites, a policy and protocol check, a communications kit and 1:1 Support by Commission staff as required by pilot staff.

2 Education

The Commission drew on leading practice and research to develop an empathetic and interactive education program designed to increase awareness, knowledge and skills about addressing sexual harassment and discrimination related to parental leave and return to work, flexible work and part time work. The education program was activity based and enabled participants to build and practice conversation skills through safe role play and group activities.

The education program had a particular focus on building bystander and manager skills to identify, address and respond to incidents of sexual harassment.

3 Resource Provision

Pilot sites were provided with a series of ‘Conversation Starter’ kits that were developed through a human-centred design approach. The kits were designed to complement the education program and increase confidence and skills to have safe and healthy conversations about the key issues. The kits included three online chatbots:

  • A flexible work request planner
  • A parental leave and pregnancy planner
  • A sexual harassment support and response tool

The fourth toolkit is a multimedia Conversation Starter Kit for managers, HR Staff and champions, made up of posters, challenge or 'conversation starter' cards, a planner for participants to note their use and distribution of toolkit materials, and an email newsletter on the Raise topics that participants can sign up for.

Evaluation and enhancements

The Commission engaged Social Ventures Australia (SVA) to assist with the development of a theory of change and program logics for the program, and to conduct an external evaluation.

The Commission’s Raise It! Evaluation insights and enhancements from the pilot program paper provides an overview of the evidence-base and design of the program. It also summarises the key findings and recommendations of SVA’s external evaluation and sets out the Commission’s additional insights, and program enhancements.

If you need help

If you have experienced sex discrimination or sexual harassment at work, you may wish to:

  • make a complaint to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission or call our Enquiry Line on 1300 292 153
  • call 1800 RESPECT for emergency healthcare referral, support or counselling services. 1800 Respect is the national sexual assault (and domestic family violence) counselling service. Available 24 hours on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800respect.org.au
  • contact the Victorian Sexual Assault Crisis Line (SACL) crisis line on 1800 806 292 or counselling line on 8345 3494
  • call the Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health (MCWH) Information line on 1800 656 421 (available in more than 40 languages).

Useful resources

More information

If you would like to speak to one our our staff about implementing Raise It! In your workplace  please call us on (03) 9032 3467 or email education@veohrc.vic.gov.au.

In 2014 Victoria Police engaged the Commission to complete an independent review into sex discrimination and sexual harassment, including predatory behaviour, in its organisation.

At the time, many of Victoria Police's female employees were experiencing sex discrimination and sexual harassment at work, resulting in profound and lasting harm.

In addition to providing a safe working environment for its employees, Victoria Police knew that addressing workplace harm in its own organisation would also improve its response to gendered violence in the community.

"I am proud of what Victoria Police is doing in response to [the Commission's] review. It makes [Victoria Police] much more an employer of choice for me. I see it as leading community and social change."

Watch the video that Victoria Police produced about the independent review

Scope of the review

The Commission conducted the review in three phases.

Initial review (Phase 1 – 2015)

We examined the nature, extent, drivers and impacts of sex discrimination and sexual harassment in Victoria Police.

We made 20 recommendations to create the foundations for change. These aimed to build the structures, rationale, messaging, strategic vision, values and leadership accountability to achieve gender equality.

Interim audit (Phase 2 – 2017)

We audited the extent of implementation of the phase 1 recommendations.

We provided further guidance to support the next stage of implementation of the phase 1 recommendations.

Final review and audit (Phase 3 – 2019)

We again audited the phase 1 recommendations and assessed the state of gender equality in Victoria Police. We made 16 new recommendations to help embed gender equality across Victoria Police by 2030. We also provided the organisation with a 10-year outcome monitoring framework to assess its progress towards gender equality.

We also examined workplace harm against LGBTI employees. We provided guidance to support Victoria Police's work to create a workplace that is inclusive of, and safe for, LGBTI employees.

Phase 3 resources

The Phase 3 audit and review report is available to download in PDF and Doc from the Phase 3 report page.

Additional resources include:

  • Phase 3 report: Executive summary
  • Outcome monitoring framework
  • The state of gender equality in Victoria Police in 2018
  • Audit framework
  • Summary of the audit outcomes
  • How gender inequality drives workplace harm
  • Where to go if you need help

Restorative Engagement and Redress Scheme 

In December 2019, the Victorian Government's Restorative Engagement and Redress Scheme was implemented, offering support, restorative engagement or financial redress for current and former police employees who experienced sexual harassment or sex discrimination in the course of their work. The scheme operates independently of Victoria Police and was one of the recommendations from the Commission’s independent review.

More information about the Restorative Engagement and Redress Scheme

Media contact

Peter Davies
Mobile:
0447 526 642
Email: peter.davies@veohrc.vic.gov.au 

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission has recently completed research into the experiences of Koori women and the justice system. This project is one of the Commission's key responsibilities under the Aboriginal Justice Agreement 3.

The Commission worked with four focus groups composed of Koori female prisoners at Dame Phyllis Frost Centre. The Commission also conducted five case study interviews with female prisoners and with Koori women who had left prison. In addition, 15 key informant interviews with people across the justice system, community service organisations, Magistrates and academics were undertaken.

The research also found that in 2012, 80 per cent of Koori women entering Victorian prisons were mothers. A high proportion of Koori women prisoners were themselves clients of child protection services as children. Many now have their children in informal or formal out-of-home care.

The report entitled Unfinished business: Koori women and the justice system is now available.

You can download the reports below or view online as a PDF.

Read the report: (PDF) | (DOC)
Read the main findings summary: (PDF) | (DOC)

More information

For more information about this project please contact the project team on 9032 3405 or email research@veohrc.vic.gov.au.

Thursday, 08 November 2012 14:31

Local Government Human Rights

Charter Report 2012 – local government input

Every year the Commission produces a report on the operation of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities. Charter reports are available to download.

Local Government Human Rights Forums 2012

To help support councils in their important work with human rights, the Commission hosted a series of local government human rights forums in November and December 2012 in Melbourne, Wangaratta, Ararat and Mildura. The forums aimed to develop skills to put human rights into practice in governance and service delivery roles.

The development of the forums was greatly assisted by an Advisory Group with representatives from a range of councils, the Municipal Association of Victoria, and the Victorian Local Governance Association. Information and case studies coming out of the forums will be available in the Local Government section of this website. Please let us know if you have anything to add or would like to see as part of this resource.

Thursday, 26 July 2012 10:54

Fair go, sport!

Research shows sport is a significant site of homophobic harassment, discrimination and exclusion.

The Australian Government report, The future of sport in Australia, identified the need to understand these issues and create new opportunities for inclusion and participation.

With this in mind, the Australian Sports Commission funded Fair go, sport! in 2010.

This project aimed to:

  1. increase awareness of sexual and gender diversity
  2. promote safe and inclusive environments
  3. develop a flexible model of engagement that can be adapted for other sporting codes and their governing bodies.

The project now has four components:

  1. Fair go, sport! Phase 1: Our original work with Hockey Victoria and Hockey Australia, completed in December 2011, developed a peer mentoring approach to support project advocates.
  2. Fair go, sport! Phase 2: Commenced in June 2012, this Phase worked with four additional state sporting associations (Basketball, Cycling, Football and Skate Victoria / Roller Derby) and consolidated the achievements in Hockey
  3. Fair go, sport! Reservoir High School: In 2012 we applied the FGS model and approaches within the school’s sport, health and physical education programs.
  4. Fair go, sport! Schools: Commencing in 2013/14, Whittlesea Secondary College, Castlemaine Secondary College and Keilor Downs College have been implementing the project and developing strategies for inclusion in school sport.
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