Fast facts on sexual harassment in the workplace
According to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s fifth national survey on sexual harassment in Australian workplaces, in the five years preceding 2022:
77% of Australians aged 15 or older have experienced sexual harassment at some point in their lives (89% of women and 64% of men).
The most common types of workplace sexual harassment experienced in the last 5 years were:
- Sexually suggestive comments or jokes (27%)
- Intrusive questions about a person’s private life or physical appearance (23%)
- Inappropriate staring or leering that made them feel intimidated (19%)
- Unwelcome touching, hugging, cornering or kissing (19%)
- Inappropriate physical contact (19%).
Fewer than 1 in 5 (18%) made a formal report or complaint about sexual harassment at work.
2 in 5 (40%) who made a formal report or complaint said that no changes occurred at their workplace as a result.
People who reported sexual harassment experienced negative consequences, including being ostracised, victimised or ignored by colleagues (13%), resigning (13%) or being labelled a troublemaker (12%).
Only a third of Australian workers think their organisation is doing enough to combat sexual harassment.
More than a third of people (37%) believe their organisations should be doing more to prevent and address sexual harassment.
38% of sexual harassment occurred at work stations.
Close to 50% of young people (15 – 29 year-olds), experience sexual harassment. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, those living with disability and people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities, or gender expressions are also more likely to experience sexual harassment.
On top of the devasting impacts to individuals, Deloitte Access Economics estimated sexual harassment cost the Australian economy $3.8 billion in 2018.