Sexual harassment, bullying rife in Australian police, report finds

Australian federal police has widespread sexual harassment and bullying problem, an internal investigation released on Monday found.

46 per cent of women and 20 per cent of men reported being sexually harassed in the workplace in the last five years, the review report said, which is more than double of national average.

Federal police commissioner Andrew Colvin said he was disturbed to read the level of allegations, saying the report demonstrated there "are workplace practices that are unacceptable and must change."

"All of this ends today," he told reporters in Canberra.

He also said his organization needed to tackle the issue of his organisation's "boys' club" attitude and there could be criminal investigations into allegations of assault if people come forward.

More than 1000 interviews were conducted for the report that took six months to conclude.

There is an urgent need for action inside the police, commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, who wrote the report, said.

The review also found that two per cent of those surveyed said they had been subjected to actual or attempted sexual assault in the past five years.

62 per cent of men and 66 per cent of women reported they were bullied, it said.

The report said members of the police do not trust the internal reporting system, as many believe such complaints could ostracize them or have a negative impact on their career.

Other challenges for women police members included having to "fit in" in a male-dominated culture, working in a sexualised environment, and the struggle to choose between a career and family.

The report also found women are under-represented across the departments, making up for just a third of total police force.

Last update: Mon, 22/08/2016 - 10:16
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