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 are 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.
If you need legal advice or information about your circumstances please contact the Centre. Our Intake and Advice Line is open 9-5, Monday to Friday. You can call us on 02 6257 4377/1800 634 669. One of our Client Services team will go through your situation and see how we can help.
You can also request assistance online using our Request for Assistance form (click below). One of our Client Services team will be in touch to see how we can help.
Our services are free
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call for police and ambulance help.
If you require police assistance but it is not an emergency, phone 131 444 or visit the ACT Police website.
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CRISIS SERVICE
The Domestic Violence Crisis Service can provide emergency support to people affected by domestic and family violence.
Ph: 24/7 Crisis Line 02 6280 0900
CANBERRA COMMUNITY LAW
CCL provides free legal assistance in the areas of public housing, Centrelink, disability discrimination and some civil law matters. It also runs specialist programs to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with Centrelink, housing and race discrimination legal issues and people experiencing homelessness with civil law issues.
Ph: 02 6218 7900
CONSUMER LAW CENTRE ACT
CLC provides free legal advice and representation in the areas of consumer credit (mortgages, credit cards and personal loans), debt recovery, financial abuse, bankruptcy, insurance, simple contracts, and general fair trading and consumer protection.
Ph: 02 6143 0044
ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICE
ALS provides free legal advice and representation in the areas of criminal law, family law, Care and Protection and Tenancy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Ph: 1800 765 767 (Criminal matters) 1800 733 233 (Care & protection and family matters)
LEGAL AID ACT
LA provides free legal advice and representation in the areas of criminal law, family law and some civil law matters, including migration and private tenancy issues.
Ph: 1300 654 314 (Helpline)
LEGAL AID DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND PERSONAL PROTECTION ORDER UNIT
This Unit provides free assistance to people applying for Family Violence Orders and help to understand and respond to orders. The Unit is located at the ACT Magistrates Court.
Ph: 02 6207 1874 or 1300 654 314