Sexual harassment by employers, landlords, shopkeepers, government staff and others who you deal with in public life is unlawful.
You have the right to be treated fairly and with respect, and to be free from unwelcome sexual conduct. If you believe you have been sexually harassed, take these steps:
- Keep a record of the incident/s you found offensive.
- Talk it over with someone you trust and who will keep the information confidential.
- You can also raise it directly with the person or people involved, either face to face or in writing. You can have a friend, family member or other support person present when you talk to the person/people involved.
If these suggestions don’t work, or you feel uncomfortable doing them, you can get advice from a number of people:
- a sexual harassment contact person at work
- a manager or school counsellor
- your union delegate or a lawyer (the Community Law Centre offers free legal advice)
- a professional disciplinary group
- a qualified counsellor (you an find one here(external link))
- the police (for sexual assault)
- the Human Rights Commission, which has a free, informal and confidential service for questions or complaints about unlawful discrimination or sexual harassment on freephone 0800 496 7877.
Professional bodies, such as those of doctors, lawyers, accountants and other groups, have their own rules within which their members must operate. Their disciplinary committees are responsible for following up on any complaints of unsatisfactory behaviour, including sexual harassment.
With new forms of communication such as the internet and mobile phones, sexual harassment may take the form of unwanted material being uploaded to one of these media platforms. Equally, you should never download or upload anything on your device that could result in a complaint against you. You need to be familiar with ways to block incoming mail or calls on your phone. Netsafe(external link) can help with this.