More employees in Australia subject to online sexual harassment 

A new study from a women’s research group has shown that workplace sexual harassment is now occurring via tech platforms.
By: | May 2, 2024

One in seven employees in Australia are sexually harassing their colleagues via various tech platforms.

This is according to new data from Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), which saw more than 3,000 people across the country surveyed.

Across the genders, men were more than three times as likely to harass their colleagues via work email, social media and text messaging apps, with the perpetrators admitting to doing so to humiliate and frighten the victims rather than wanting to pursue a sexual or romantic relationship with them.

Those subject to these types of messages include young people and women.

In general, 26% of women who experienced sexual harassment did so at work, with 57% receiving threats electronically, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The methods of harassment meant that victims felt that they were unable to get respite, shared Dr Asher Flynn, Associate Professor of Criminology at Monash University, and lead researcher of the study. The research also debunked the theory that workplace sexual harassment is borne out of trying to approach a colleague for a romantic or sexual relationship, with more than one in four respondents admitting to using tech to sexually harass a colleague to frighten or humiliate their victim.

While employers in Australia have been required by law to take steps to try to eliminate sexual discrimination as much as possible, respondents in the ANROWS study have urged the government to provide mandated requirements and guidance on how to stamp out tech-facilitated sexual harassment particularly when it comes to consequences for perpetrators.

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The report called for workplace policies to specifically mention tech-based sexual harassment and give a proper, clear definition of what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate behaviour concerning work contexts and digital technologies, reported ABC News.