National Model Framework to address sexual harassment in the legal profession
23 December 2021
As part of its efforts to stamp out sexual harassment in the legal profession, the Law Council of Australia has today released a National Model Framework to guide firms and organisations in the development and implementation of effective workplace policies.
“Sexual harassment is pervasive and damaging. Everyone should feel safe and supported within their workplace,” Law Council of Australia President, Dr Jacoba Brasch QC said. “It is unacceptable that women and men are experiencing workplace sexual harassment in Australia today.
“Sexual harassment is inconsistent with the inherent values of the Australian legal profession, the principles informing the administration of justice, and the pursuit of integrity, fairness and equality before the law. The Model Framework will assist the profession to proactively prevent and respond to sexual harassment.
“At the end of last year, the Law Council unveiled the National Action Plan to Reduce Sexual Harassment in the Australian Legal Profession. The Model Framework reflects the ongoing commitment of the Law Council and our Constituent Bodies to eliminate sexual harassment within our profession.”
Organisations can adopt The Model Framework in its entirety as their own sexual harassment policy; or use the Model Framework to augment and/or refine their existing policies.
In addition to the Model Framework, the Law council has developed recommendations for complaints procedures and three Guidance Notes which provide information for those who report sexual harassment, information for those who respond to sexual harassment, and information for those alleged of committing sexual harassment.
“The Model Framework and associated recommendations for complaints procedures have been developed to provide guidance and promote best practice for organisations managing and responding to complaints of sexual harassment,” Dr Brasch said.
“This not only includes workplaces who are managing internal complaints, but also those bodies responsible for managing external complaints of sexual harassment, such as disciplinary bodies.
“I strongly urge all organisations to utilise the Model Framework to ensure they are taking every possible measure to protect their staff and every member of our profession.”
The Law Council of Australia’s National Model Framework to address sexual harassment in the legal profession is available here.
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