Sexual Harassment practice

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual behaviour which is likely to offend, humiliate or intimidate.

Examples can include unwelcome requests for sexual favours, unwanted touching, kissing, comments or messages of a sexual nature and sexual jokes or other sexual behaviours.

The most common forms of sexual harassment at work are offensive sexually suggestive comments or jokes and intrusive or offensive questions about a person’s private life or physical appearance.

How can we help?

The rates of sexual harassment in Australia have increased significantly in Australian workplaces over the past decade.

We understand many women do not take action because they are not sure their experiences fit the definition of sexual harassment or are worried that making a complaint will make their situation worse.

We can help you understand how your experiences fall within the legal definition of sexual harassment.

There are a number of options available to respond to this behaviour. We can help you explore these options, including using internal complaints or reporting processes or making a complaint to the ACT or Australian Human Rights Commission. These processes often start with you explaining to the Commission what has happened to you. Through conciliation, the Commission then works with you and your employer to come to an agreement about how the situation can be remedied. We have assisted women to get an apology from their employer, a commitment to train staff in appropriate behaviour and compensation.

The level of support we provide, depends on your situation. We can support you to deal with the issue with your employer yourself if you want to. We can also assist you to draft and lodge complaint documents, and represent you in negotiations with your employer, including through conciliation processes.

We can help if you are being harassed at work (including by customers or clients), studying at school, college or university, or when you purchasing a good or a service.

We also know that people who identify as non-binary  or as a gender other than male or female are at significant risk of sexual harassment. If you are non-binary or a gender other than male or female you are protected by law and we can help.

Multi-disciplinary and trauma-informed services

We understand that women may need more than legal advice to take the next step, stay safe through a legal process and to address other issues that affect their safety, financial security and well-being.

We have a team of Social Workers and an Aboriginal Case Manager that can provide support to Centre clients, including safety planning, advocacy and case management. We can also refer clients to complementary services including financial counsellors, specialist counselling, and other financial and parenting supports.

Our services are free


The contents of the this page do not constitute legal advice. If you need legal advice about your circumstance please contact the Centre.