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Insecure work & gendered violence project

Get in touch with us about job security

If you are an employer or organisational leader, or you work in HR, get in touch with us about how you can get involved with our project about gendered violence and insecure work.

Register for the Protective Power of Job Security panel event

WHEN

05 Oct 2021
6pm – 7.30pm

EVENT TYPE

Live panel

WHERE

Say Kitchen Café, 78 Currie Street, Adelaide

ACCESSIBILITY

Wheelchair Accessibility

IN THE MEDIA: Federal Government accused of ignoring another Respect@Work recommendation

LISTEN TO THE STORY HERE

The Morrison Government has been accused of ignoring another recommendation of the landmark Respect at Work report.

Working Women’s Centres were singled out by Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins as an essential service for providing support for victim-survivors of sexual harassment, but the future of two centres – in the Northern Territory and Queensland – is in doubt.

Featured:

Emma Sharp

Nicki Petrou, Director, NT Working Women’s Centre

Abbey Kendall, Director, SA Working Women’s Centre

Helen Campbell, Executive Officer, NSW Women’s Legal Service

Reporter:

Cathy Van Extel

Duration: 7min 54sec

Broadcast: 

Panel event: the Protective Power of Job Security

About this event

Can you really report instances of sexual harassment in your workplace when you risk losing your job?  How does job security help to protect workers from sexual harassment and gendered violence?  

Come along to our upcoming panel event about The Protective Power of Job Security. Our guest speakers will discuss how violence against women is linked to casualisation and how we can prevent violence by increasing access to job security.  

 

Our panellists: 

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young: Senator for South Australia. 

Tanya Hosch: 2021 South Australian of the Year, and the Executive General Manager of Inclusion and Social Policy at the AFL. 

Gemma Beale: Writer and a PhD Candidate at Flinders University, with a focus on insecure work and a passion for economic justice. 

 

Details:

The panel discussion will go until 7.30, after which attendees are invited to stick around to chat. Drinks will be available for purchase.

This event is possible due to a grant from the Government of South Australia, Department of Human Services, as part of the COVID-19 National Partnership – Domestic Violence Funding.

We acknowledge that this event will be held on Kaurna land and we pay our respect to the traditional custodians of the land, past and present. Sovereignty was never ceded. 

 

About the topic:  

CONTENT NOTE: this event will involve a discussion on sexual harassment, domestic and family violence and sexual assault.  

The Respect@Work Report (2020) outlines that 1 in 3 Australians have experienced sexual harassment at work, ranging from serious offences like sexual assault and rape, to inappropriate comments and sexist slurs.  

At the Working Women’s Centre, our staff regularly provide advice and support for workers who have experienced workplace sexual harassment. Many of these workers are working in insecure jobs, such as casual or fixed-term contracts.

Our staff have observed that workers are often unable to resist or report sexual harassment due to the risk of losing their job. Gender inequality is proven to be the most significant driver of violence against women and workplace sexual harassment. We have the opportunity to prevent violence by collectively working to increase access to job security.   

The Working Women’s Centre is proud to hold a panel event about job insecurity and its connection with gendered violence. In this event, we well hear from three fantastic speakers, each sharing their personal experience and expertise on the topic. The event is also the launch of a new project to improve job security as a protective factor against violence.  

We hope to see you there! 

The Northern Territory Working Women’s Centre is at risk of closure

The Northern Territory Working Women’s Centre is at risk of closure, without urgent and ongoing funding it could close by December 2021.

in FY21 the NT WWC had a seven fold increase in the number of sexual harassment matters. Working Women Centre are essential in the fight against sexual harassment in the workplace, which is supported & recommended by the Sex Discrimination Commissioner in the Respect@Work report.
“Australian governments provide increased and recurrent funding to working women’s centres to provide information, advice and assistance to vulnerable workers who experience sexual harassment…” (Recommendation 49).”
Please sign this petition to help the NT Working Women’s Centre fight for funding.

Upcoming outreach clinic 17 September: UniSA Legal Advice Clinic X WWCSA

Appointments will be held at the Legal Advice Clinic – City West Campus on:

  • * Friday, 17 September
This free industrial advice is available for all UniSA students and the general public living in South Australia.

To make an appointment please telephone WWC SA on 8410 6499 or complete the online form at:

We acknowledge that this event is on Kaurna land and we pay our respect to the traditional custodians of the land, past and present. Sovereignty was never ceded.
UniSA Legal Advice Clinic

Applications open for fundraising ambassadors

We are looking for a small team of volunteer Fundraising Ambarassors! The fundraising ambassadors will drive our fundraising efforts to help us reach our fundraising goal ($50,000 over the next 12 months). You will organise community engagement activities to help us fundraise and build our community of supporters. This will include helping to organise a large fundraiser event in April or May of 2022.

We are looking for people who can:
👉 commit at least 7 days of your time in the next 12 months
👉 be part of a new volunteer program and open to experimenting, giving feedback and learning as you go
👉Are willing to get a Working with Vulnerable Persons check (the Working Women’s Centre will cover any costs associated).

👉 Are available to attend our Fundraising Ambassador Info Night at 29 SEP, 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM

Applications close: 5:00 PM ACST, 20th Sep 2021

Watch online Womens Safety Summit – September 6 & 7

The National Women’s Safety Summit is being live-streamed for all to watch on the 6 and 7 of September 2021.

Watch online here:

www.womenssafetysummit.com.au

The recordings and transcripts of the event will be available after the summit.

IN THE MEDIA: Women’s cabinet’s stance on Kate Jenkins’ sexual harassment law recommendations is utterly baffling

Our Director Abbey Kendall spoke with Jenna Price, for the Canberra Times.

…”there’s one other important recommendation made in the Jenkins report which is being ignored: Working Women’s Centres in every state and every territory. These are brilliant organisations which have been worn away by years of neglect, and now we need them more than ever. Abbey Kendall is the director of the WWC in South Australia, and says the centre gets fantastic support from the state Liberal government. She is calling on both the federal government and all the other state and territory governments to get out there and either re-establish centres where they have

closed or fund the ones currently in peril, including those in the Northern Territory.”

“We don’t want a culture where we expect the onus to be on the victim or survivor and therefore make women take the first step and react to sexual harassment, as opposed to stopping it from happening in the first place,” says Kendall.”
The Canberra Times, Jenna Price Women's cabinet's stance on Kate Jenkins' sexual harassment law recommendations is utterly baffling

MEDIA RELEASE: Working Women’s Centres respond to Labor’s 24-million-dollar pledge to fund and establish Centres across Australia

Working Women’s Centres respond to Labor’s 24-million-dollar pledge to fund and establish Centres across Australia

The South Australian, Northern Territory, and Queensland Working Women’s Centres welcome Labor’s promise to ensure there are properly funded Working Women’s Centres in every Australian state and territory.  

With this announcement, Labor has recognised that Working Women’s Centre’s service models are crucial to addressing the pervasive issue of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces.  

All corners of the country are calling on the federal government to address sexual harassment in the workplace.  

Recommendation 49 of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work Report is that ‘Australian governments provide increased and recurrent funding to working women’s centres to provide information, advice, and assistance to vulnerable workers who experience sexual harassment. The Sex Discrimination Commissioner recognised the unique holistic support provided by Working Women’s Centres:  

“We found they were uniquely the most effective, victim-centric model that could deliver support, advice [and] advocacy to women [across a] range of issues in their work.” 

The federal government accepted this recommendation.  Now is the time for the government to make a concrete funding announcement.  

Working Women’s Centres call for bipartisan commitment to fully fund Working Women’s CentresThe prevention of sexual harassment should not be a political football. We need the federal government to immediately announce a funding package for the working women’s centres. The Northern Territory Working Women’s Centre is just months away from closing.  

Two out of five Australian women experienced sexual harassment at work in the past five years, but the Federal Government has failed to properly fund the Working Women’s Centres that provide the first point of contact for women experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace.  

All three centres have seen an exponential increase in enquiries about sexual harassment. The South Australian Working Women’s Centre has seen a 200% increase in enquiries since March 2021.  

Quotes attributable to Nicki Petrou, Director NT Working Women’s Centre:

“With our one-off interim Federal funding running out in September, and without a further funding commitment from the Federal government, we will have to close the NT Working Women’s Centre by the end of the year. We will need to tell Territory women that we will no longer be there when things go wrong in the workplace, when they need our support.  

We do not want to see Territory women the casualties of a political funding battle especially when every minute counts for us right now. “ 

“The need for this funding is urgent: there has been a national outcry against workplace sexual harassment and assault that we know occurs in every industry. We cannot delay this. The NTWWC do not want to start turning women away especially when as a society we are now encouraging women to come forward and share their story, to say enough is enough but not provide the support that is needed!” 

 Quote attributable to Abbey Kendall, Director of SA Working Women’s Centre

“We have been fighting for funding recognition for the last 8 months and we welcome Labor’s pledge to sustainably fund Working Women’s Centres and ensure that all Australian women can have access to our world leading model of service, no matter where they work and live. Sexual harassment in the workplace should not be politicised.

“We need funding action from the federal government and bi-partisan support for our services. This is a no-brainer, the federal government have an opportunity to make their mark in the prevention of sexual harassment, and they can do it by funding a holistic, professional and trauma informed service that has a proven track record of improving the lives of Australian working women.”  

 Quotes attributable to Claire Moore, Acting Director of Basic Rights Queensland (Working Women’s Centre QLD)  

“WWCs have proven our worth over many years. We support women to understand their rights and have access to the system to achieve outcomes when these rights have been violated. The struggle for effective funding has highlighted the unmet needs of women and the impact on their lives, their workplaces , and their families. The Respect@Work report acknowledged the need for these services as an integral element of the response to the systemic damage to women who are damaged by harassment, discrimination, and isolation. Their voices need to be heard.” 

Save our Working Women’s Centres website: https://saveourworkingwomenscentres.com.au/

Sexual harassment case studies

Case Summaries

Sexual harassment in the workplace is an ongoing and increasingly publicised topic. More and more women contact our centre daily to seek advice in relation to the legal avenues that may be available to them to seek a remedy for the unacceptable and intolerable behaviour they have experienced in the workplace.

Once a victim has gained the courage to seek advice on their legal options, the next question that usually follows is how does someone quantify a monetary settlement for the behaviours and conduct that person has been subject to?

The following case studies are based on leading sexual harassment cases. They give a brief summary of the facts by looking at the conduct and behaviours a complainant has experienced, the findings of the court in relation to the said conduct and lastly the rulings and compensation awarded by the courts.

 

Important:

Please note these cases summaries should not be taken as legal advice.
If you require legal advice or are concerned about a matter regarding sexual harassment please call our centre on (08) 84106499.

Hill v Hughes

Ms Hill was awarded $170,000 in compensation for loss and damages.

Facts:

  • Ms Hill was admitted to legal practice in April 2015 and in May 2015 began working with Mr Hughes (Principal Solicitor) of a small legal firm.
  • Mr Hughes was physically and emotionally attracted to Ms Hill.
  • Ms Hill was involved in an ongoing mediation with her ex-husband. Mr Hughes offered to represent her and she agreed.
  • Ms Hill disclosed a lot of personal information to Mr Hughes so he could represent her including details of her relationship with her former husband, her children, past relationships with men and her dealings with an apprehended violence order.
  • The night before the mediation, Mr Hughes called Ms Hill and expressed his growing feelings towards her. This made her feel apprehensive and uncomfortable. She said nothing and ignored his comments.
  • Mr Hughes had a matter he needed to attend in Sydney for work and asked Hill if she would like to be of assistance and go to Sydney with him on 24 July 2015.
  • On 17 July 2015 an email was sent to Ms Hill regarding accommodation in Sydney. Additionally, the email contained several personal comments about his feelings for her. A further three emails were sent that day.
  • Ms Hill spoke to Mr Hughes and made it clear the Sydney trip was for work only and did not want a relationship with him.
  • Whilst in Sydney Ms Hill went to bed and found Mr Hughes laying on her bed in his underwear and a singlet. She asked him to “please leave” and felt upset and compromised both professionally and personally.
  • The next morning when Ms Hill had a shower, she returned to find Mr Hughes again in her room, laying on the mattress in her bedroom and asked him to “get out”.
  • Mr Hughes had on several occasions asked to hug her.
  • Ms Hill explained she was upset and told Hughes he had acted inappropriately.
  • Mr Hughes continued to send several persistent emails through July, August, September and October proclaiming his love for her and expressing that he wanted a future with her.
  • In June 2016, Mr Hughes sent an email bringing up Ms Hill’s inability to do her job, used the personal information he obtained when he was acting as a legal representative for her against her and said he could only afford to pay her two days a week.
  • Ms Hughes resigned.

Findings:

  • Respondent was dishonest and had been told not to send emails.
  • He took grave exploitation of the legal relationship as an advantage over her.
  • Mr Hughes saw the trip as an opportunity to begin a sexual relationship, by trying his luck.
  • The respondent on several occasions had tried to coerce the applicant to give him a hug. He did this by blocking the exit and making her feel as though she could not decline
  • His motivation for being in her room was entirely sexual (see her naked/watch her get dressed).
  • He only started to criticise her work and professionalism after he was rejected.
  • His emails/conduct were unwelcomed, offensive, humiliating, intimidating and distressing.
  • The spoken words, physical conduct and email communications were sexual harassment.

Damages:

  • Conduct was relentless, he took advantage of her vulnerability.
  • Threats he made were extremely distressing.
  • Harassment was unwanted, persistent and threatening.
  • General damages $120,000.

Aggravated Damages:

  • Threats of job loss were made to stop the applicant from making a complaint.
  • Respondents used privileged information he got while acting as her legal representative.
  • Mr Hughes said Hill was flirty and encouraged him.
  • Aggravated Damages $50,000.

Link to Decision:  

http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/cth/FCCA/2019/1267.html?context=1;query=[2019]%20FCCA%201267;mask_path= 

 

 

Evans v Pasadena Foodland and Crugnale

Ms Evans was awarded $30,000 in damages.

Facts

  • Ms Evans was working in the supermarket and Mr Crugnale also performed work there. The sexual harassment involved a pattern of inappropriate touching which eventually escalated to sexual assault.
  • Mr Crugnale deliberately brushed past behind Ms Evans on three occasions in one day.
  • Ms Evans said Mr Crugnale pushed his body up against hers and glided the palm of his hand between her buttocks as he walked past.
  • The third time he did this, she said she could feel something hard press up against her, which she thought could have been a belt buckle, or his erection.
  • Ms Evans reported the incidents and management reviewed the CCTV footage. They decided they saw “nothing of concern”. The security footage was destroyed two weeks later.

Findings:

  • Mr Crugnale had engaged in the conduct complained of and it was unwelcomed by Ms Evans.
  • A reasonable person having regard to all the circumstances would have been offended, humiliated or intimidated.
  • His evidence that the touching was accidental was not accepted and his conduct was found to be deliberate and of a sexual nature.

Vicarious Liability:

Ms Evans also claimed that Pasadena Foodland had breached its duty of vicarious liability and was responsible for Mr Crugnale’s behaviour because they had failed to appropriately implement/enforce their own sexual harassment policy.

Facts in relation to vicarious liability:

  • Ms Evans had asked an assistant store manager to check the security footage because she had been touched inappropriately, in addition to complaining to the HR Manager.
  • Neither the HR Manager or Assistant Store Manager took the complaint seriously and neither obtained a statement or record from her.
  • When the HR Manager viewed the CCTV footage, he did not observe a clear-cut instance of sexual assault so allowed the footage to be automatically deleted after fourteen days.
  • A couple of months after the last incident had occurred, Ms Evans spoke with the café manager who made a further complaint to the duty manager on her behalf.
  • The café manager then took it upon herself to investigate the complaint and recorded what was said by both parties.
  • It was recommended to the HR Manager that the issue be escalated to a formal investigation and the incident was raised with Mr Crugnale who volunteered to apologize.
  • The lack of action and insufficient investigation by Pasadena Foodland resulted in Ms Evans making a complaint to the police.

Findings:

Pasadena Foodland was found to be vicariously liable for Mr Crugnale’s conduct as they did not take reasonable steps to prevent Mr Cugnale’s behaviour. In was also found that Foodland failed to implement their own sexual harassment policy.

Compensation:

  • Ms Evans was entitled to compensation as she had suffered a psychological disorder, harm, suffering and hurt as a result of the sexual harassment.
  • Pasadena Foodland and Mr Crugnale were found to be jointly liable.
  • Ms Evans made a claim for workers compensation and received money for some of her medical expenses as well as lost earnings.

Link to Decision:  

http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/sa/SAET/2019/222.html

 

 

Yelda v Sydney Water Corporation

MS YELDA RECEIVED $200,000 IN COMPENSATION.

Facts:

  • Ms Yelda was employed by Sydney Water and worked with field staff, which consisted of male workers.
  • Sydney Water had engaged Vitality Works to create a Safespine campaign for Sydney Water staff.
  • Ms Yelda agreed to have her photo taken for the campaign. A male colleague also had his photo taken for the campaign.
  • Vitality Works produced a poster of Ms Yelda smiling with her right arm outstretched above her head. She was pointing to the words “Feel great” and “lubricate”.
  • Sydney Water printed the posters and displayed them in the Sydney Water Ryde Depot, where it was placed just outside the men’s toilet and the civil delivery lunchroom.
  • Ms Yelda saw the poster and sent a complaint via email shortly after.

Findings:

  • The Tribunal found that the words “Feel Great-Lubricate” were big relative to the other words and that as a whole did not immediately suggest the intended meaning of spine safety. Colloquially the poster carried a sexualised connotation and had her image on it.
  • The conduct of displaying the poster was conduct of a sexual nature within the meaning of sexual harassment under the relevant legislation.
  • Because they chose Ms Yelda and not her male colleague, the court also found that Sydney water had discriminated against Ms Yelda on the ground of her sex.
  • Upheld on appeal.

 

Compensation:

  • $200,000
    • $100,000 from Sydney Water
    • $100,000 from  Vitality Works

Link to Decision:  

http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/nsw/NSWCATAD/2021/107.html?context=1;query=Yelda%20v%20Sydney%20Water%20Corporation;%20Yelda%20v

 

Lee v Smith & Ors

Ms Lee was awarded $100,000 in damages

Please note that this case summary contains content referring to sexual harassment & rape, that survivors and victims of sexual assault may find upsetting. 

Facts:

  • Ms Leewas employed by the Department of Defence, which is an entity of the Commonwealth. Two of the perpetrators had more senior positions than Ms Lee.
  • Calendars of topless women and computer images containing pornography were readily visible to Ms Leein the workplace.
  • Mr Smith typed ‘Austin is a champion in the sack’ on a computer shared by him and Ms Lee.
  • Mr Smith wrote his phone number on Ms Lee’s writing pad and when asked why he had done that, Mr Smith replied that if Ms Lee ever wanted to go out with him she should call him.
  • Mr Smith told Ms Lee he would like to have sex with her. When Ms Lee rejected, Mr Smith said ‘you will be sorry’ in a threatening voice.
  • Ms Lee told Mr Smith that he wanted him to stop making advances towards her as she would continue to reject those advances, and this would cause tension in the workplace.
  • Mr Smith said he would continue to “perve” at Ms Lee’s “ass” when she walked past.
  • Mr Smith Left a note in Ms Lee’s drawer that said: “.. I think I want Austin sandwiches for lunch... (Happy face symbol) his meat between my two lovely thighs”.
  • Mr Smith wrote ‘I just ripped a hole in my jeans… I don’t have underwear onand ‘I can touch my penis through the hole’ on Ms Lee’s course notes. Miss Lee also observed that his penis was partly poking out of the hole in his jeans.
  • Mr Smith approached Ms Lee from behind, lifted the Applicant’s skirt, pushed himself against her and squeezed her buttock.
  • Mr Smith also obtained Ms Lee’s number from her personal file in the Resource management section and called her.
  • Ms Lee became intoxicated at the dinner and passed out. When she woke up the next day, she was in Mr Smith’s house and he was raping her.

Findings:

  • Mr Smith was found liable for l the sexual harassment leading up to the rape – the rape itself and the harassment following the rape. The employer  was also found to be vicariously liable

Links to decision 

http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/cth/FMCA/2007/59.html?context=1;query=Lee%20v%20Smith%20&%20Ors;mask_path=

 

 

IN THE MEDIA: 18 Months On, Women Call On Government To Take The Respect@Work Report Seriously

The Northern Territory Working Women’s Centre — a community-based non-profit organisation that supports women through gender discrimination, sexual harassment and assault in the workplace — is at risk of closure. Sign the petition to demand federal funding — it only takes 2 minutes! To read more about Refinery29 Australia’s long-term initiative to dismantle sexual harassment in the workplace, visit the #FiredUp hub.
Workplace sexual harassment is sadly a common experience in Australia that occurs in every industry and at all levels. But it is preventable, according to Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins, who says the Respect@Work report serves as a catalyst for change.
In March 2020, the Australian Human Rights Commission released its Respect@Work report, the product of an 18-month inquiry – led by Jenkins – into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. The report outlined 55 recommendations for government, business and community sectors to consider, indicating how Australia can better prevent and respond to sexual harassment.
A year later, women across the country gathered at #March4Justice rallies in March 2021, calling on the government to implement all 55 recommendations. The federal government responded in April with its ‘Roadmap for Respect’ report, though the plan doesn’t necessarily commit to implementing all 55 recommendations.
As female advocacy groups, support organisations and Jenkins herself continue to advocate for the implementation of all recommendations, here’s a look at what the report covers and why it’s significant in addressing workplace sexual harassment in Australia.
18 Months On, Women Call On Government To Take The Respect@Work Report Seriously

IN THE MEDIA: Workplace Sexual Harassment Is Rife — And We Want To Help End It

Read the full article on Refinery19

A year and a half ago, Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins released a seminal report called Respect@Work, outlining the pervasive nature of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. The 930-page document described the prevalence and impact of the issue, and pointed out that Australia lags behind other countries in its response to preventing and responding to sexual harassment. Unfortunately, however, little concrete action has followed the publication of the report.

Is your blood boiling yet?
Sexual harassment at work is disturbingly common. The most recent survey from the Australian Human Rights Commission (2018) revealed that almost two in five women in Australia (39%) had experienced sexual harassment at work in the past five years. It also highlighted that young people (those between the ages of 18 and 29), people with a disability, LGBTQI and Aboriginal people were far more likely to have experienced workplace sexual harassment.
fired up logo Workplace Sexual Harassment Is Rife — And We Want To Help End It Refinery29 Working Womens Centre SA

IN THE MEDIA: Help Save This Frontline Women’s Service Supporting Sexual Harassment Victims

Read the full article on Refinery29 here

The Northern Territory Working Women’s Centre — a community-based non-profit organisation that supports women through gender discrimination, sexual harassment and assault in the workplace — is at risk of closure. Sign the petition to demand federal funding — it only takes 2 minutes! To read more about Refinery29 Australia’s long-term initiative to dismantle sexual harassment in the workplace, visit the #FiredUp hub.

Workplace sexual harassment is shockingly common in Australia. A 2018 National Inquiry revealed that two in five women in Australia (39%) had experienced sexual harassment at work in the past five years, noting that people with a disability, LGBTQI and Aboriginal people were far more likely to be targeted.

Let that sink in for a moment.
In March 2020, the Australian Human Rights Commission released its Respect@Work report, a product of the 18-month inquiry led by Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins. The report outlined 55 recommendations that if implemented, would see Australia
“reclaim its position as leaders in tackling sexual harassment, provide employers with the guidance they need and victims the support and redress they deserve.”
Of the recommendations, number 49 is perhaps one of the most straightforward to implement, as it requires funding rather than changes to policy. It states: “Australian governments provide increased and recurrent funding to working women’s centres to provide information, advice and assistance to vulnerable workers who experience sexual harassment, taking into account particular needs of workers facing intersectional discrimination. Australian governments should consider establishing or re-establishing working women’s centres in jurisdictions where they do not currently exist.”
Working Women’s Centres are not-for-profit, community organisations that provide essential support for women navigating issues in the workplace, including bullying, underpayment and sexual harassment. They offer free, confidential services for women who are not represented by a union, their own lawyer or another advocate. Many states, including New South Wales and Tasmania, have seen these centres close down due to lack of funding, while Queensland has had to cut services to three days a week.
Despite the Commissioner’s recommendations, the few centres that remain are at risk. The Northern Territory Working Women’s Centre (NTWWC) had 3,470 contacts with women in FY21, a 29.6% increase from the previous year. They also saw a troubling seven-fold increase in the number of sexual harassment matters. However the organisation’s core federal funding ceased in December 2020, and without government support, it is facing inevitable service and staff cuts next month, and closure by December 2021.
Two out of five of us is too many. We’re calling on you to help us demand support for women that need it. Because if the government isn’t doing enough to prevent sexual harassment, at least it can help the victims who experience it.
As part of Refinery29 Australia’s Fired Up initiative, we’ve launched a petition to urgently alert the House Of Representatives to this issue. We are asking the House to allocate $700,000 per year of federal funds to NTWWC so it can remain operational and continue providing this vital service to some of Australia’s most vulnerable women.

We can’t do this alone, and every signature counts. So please, help keep their doors open by signing this petition — it takes less than 2 minutes but will have a lasting impact.

refinery 29 Help Save This Frontline Women’s Service Supporting Sexual Harassment Victims FIRED UP dismantling workplace sexual harassment working womens centre sa

IN THE MEDIA: This Frontline Service For Victims Of Workplace Sexual Harassment Is At Risk Of Closure

Read the full article on Refinery29 here

The Northern Territory Working Women’s Centre — a community-based non-profit organisation that supports women through gender discrimination, sexual harassment and assault in the workplace — is at risk of closure. Sign the petition to demand federal funding — it only takes 2 minutes! To read more about Refinery29 Australia’s long-term initiative to dismantle sexual harassment in the workplace, visit the #FiredUp hub.

If you haven’t had to rely on the services provided by working women’s centres (WWC), you’re unlikely to know what they are and the critical role they play. But for many women in Australia, the WWCs are the only free frontline service within reach, providing them with support and advice on work-related matters including underpayment, wage theft, parental leave, bullying and workplace sexual harassment and assault.
While working women’s centres once existed in New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory, funding cuts over the years have meant they now only operate in the NT, QLD and SA. With branches in Darwin and Alice Springs, the Northern Territory Working Women’s Centre (NTWWC) saw its core federal funding taken away in December 2020. It currently faces the direst situation, with the threat of closure by the end of the year looming unless it receives urgent government funding.

In May, the federal budget pledged $3.4 billion to support women, but only $200,000 was allocated to split between the QLD and NT working women’s centres.

Nicki Petrou, the director of the NTWWC, says the NT government gives the centre $200,000 a year, but another $700,000 annually is needed to keep it open. If the federal government doesn’t commit to this funding soon, she fears being forced to make staff cuts, reduce operating hours from five to three days a week in September, and potentially closing doors in November.

“[The funding] will be able to at least fund us properly, and to be able to respond appropriately to the demand,” Petrou told Refinery29 Australia.
Refinery 29 Australia FIRED UP dismantling workplace sexual harassment This Frontline Service For Victims Of Workplace Sexual Harassment Is At Risk Of Closure

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