TECH-FACILITATED HARASSMENT STUDY

Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) has released a report titled ‘Workplace technology-facilitated sexual harassment: Perpetration, responses and prevention’ revealing workers who subscribe to common sexual harassment myths are 16 times more likely to engage in workplace technology-facilitated sexual harassment (WTFSH).

Examples of such myths include 'Most women secretly enjoy it when men come on to them at work' or 'Women who claim they have been sexually harassed are usually exaggerating.'

These attitudes significantly correlate with the likelihood of perpetrating harassment.

WTFSH includes various behaviours such as unwelcome sexual advances, comments, stalking, threats of violence, and non-consensual sharing of sexual images using digital technologies in the workplace.

On the issue of prevalence, the report highlights that a significant portion of workers, especially men and those in male-dominated workplaces, have engaged in workplace sexual harassment, whether via technology or in-person.

Men often use work email, while women tend to rely on personal phones for WTFSH. The frequency of harassment is higher in certain industries like massage therapy, media, and politics.

The pandemic-induced shift to remote work has exacerbated the issue.

The study emphasises a lack of knowledge about government policies and inadequate responses to WTFSH and suggests there’s a real need for government leadership to enforce preventive measures, including structured responses, training, and accountability for perpetrators.

The report calls for clear definitions of appropriate behaviour in digital workplaces, employer policies addressing WTFSH, and government-mandated requirements to prevent and respond to such harassment effectively.

Access the study here.

Worth noting: VTHC offer a Refresher Training Course on Gendered Violence for HSRs. More information here.

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