One in eight women experienced sexual harassment in the past year, new Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data shows.
The 2021-2022 survey collected information from people aged 18 and over about the nature and extent of their experiences.
Sexual harassment in Australia
In total, the report found that an estimated 1.7 million Australian adults experienced sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is defined as behaviour that is sexual in nature that makes someone feel uncomfortable.
The research showed that both men and women were more likely to experience sexual harassment at the hands of a male rather than a female.
45 percent of female victims experienced more than one sexual harassment behaviours.
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Will Milne, ABS head of crime and justice statistics, said the most common form of harassment involved inappropriate comments about a person’s body or sex life.
“Half a million women received an indecent text, email, or post, while 400,000 were subjected to unwanted touching or grabbing,” he said.
Women who experienced sexual harassment were more likely to experience it from a person they knew than from a stranger.
An estimated 330,000 women experienced sexual harassment at the hands of someone they had a work or professional relationship with.
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Employment lawyer Stephen Dryley-Collins described the data as “concerning”.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe at work and when they participate in daily life in the community,” he said.
“Sexual harassment can have a devastating effect on victims and lead to things such as anxiety, depression and even PTSD.”
Meanwhile, Mr Dryley-Collins advised anyone who experiences sexual harassment or any form of discrimination to seek urgent expert advice.
“People who experience sexual harassment may be entitled to substantial compensation – so please get in touch with us today for a confidential chat about your options,” he said.
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