Policy Statement - National Model Framework Addressing Sexual Harassment for the Australian Legal Profession
22 December 2021
Sexual harassment is unacceptable, in any context. Sexual harassment impairs the dignity and respect to those who experience it. The harm can be long lasting. For organisations it may have adverse legal, financial and reputational outcomes. Eliminating sexual harassment in the legal profession has been part of a long-running commitment from the Law Council and its Constituent Bodies.
The National Model Framework Addressing Sexual Harassment for the Australian Legal Profession (Model Framework) was developed by the Law Council pursuant to its National Action Plan to Reduce Sexual Harassment in the Australian Legal Profession (NAP).
Included in the appendices to the Model Framework are best practice recommendations for complaints procedures, directed toward:
a. organisations taking external complaints about sexual harassment - for example, disciplinary bodies (Appendix A to the Model Framework); and
b. organisations dealing with internal complaints - such as workplaces (Appendix B to the Model Framework).
An auditing tool/checklist is also included at Appendix C, which enables organisations to assess and identify any gaps in their existing policies.
The Model Framework is supported by additional Guidance Notes to assist organisations and individuals using the Model Framework:
- Guidance Note 1 - Information for organisations implementing the Model Framework;
- Guidance Note 2 - Information for persons wanting to make a complaint about sexual harassment; and
- Guidance Note 3 - Information for persons facing a complaint about sexual harassment.
1 The Law Council notes that the document in Appendix A has been drafted as a general guide, primarily directed towards legal profession complaints taking bodies, to facilitate best practice and consistency where possible. However, it is noted that the statutory functions and powers of complaints-taking agencies in general vary considerably, and this should be taken into account when making a complaint.