11 December 2015

Victoria Police sexual harassment horror stories is a Failure of Governance

Once again the Victorian Government is responsible for (deliberate?) failure of governance with respect to keeping people safe in their place of work.

How can the community 'feel' safe if the police 'force' is rife with discrimination, thugs, even criminals who are in a position of power and ready and willing to abuse people including the general populous.

This is literally the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the criminal activities of Victoria Police.

Make no mistake about it Victoria Police is rife with criminal activity.

You cannot 'respect' an organisation that rules with fear, force intimidation, and threats of incarceration for no crime committed, just to 'teach you a lesson'!

From the news.com.au article from 9th December 2015 of the headline:

A review into sexual harassment within Victoria Police has been released

Victorian Police Commissioner Graham Ashton speaking about the VEOHRC report into sexual abuse and harassment within Victoria Police. Picture: Ian Currie

HORROR stories have been leaked by female Victoria Police officers in a report released today by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
The report has looked into the scandalous culture of sexual harassment that exists within Victoria Police.

Former Leading Senior Constable Nicki Lewis, who made a submission to the VEOHRC review, said she was in a same-sex relationship when she was subjected to false rumours, including that she had a sexually transmitted disease, and was shunned by colleagues.

The female colleague who she said spread the rumours once threatened to taser, baton or shoot her, she said.

“When I talked about this with a male colleague he said, ‘Oh, that other lesbian’,” she told ABC’s 7.30 program on Tuesday night.

“He minimised what was happening by treating it like it was just some lesbian drama. That sort of homophobic attitude is common.”

Her formal complaint was eventually dismissed and she was ordered to transfer to another station, but Ms Lewis said the ordeal left her shattered and pushed her out of the force and on to a disability pension.

Victoria’s first female Chief Commissioner, Christine Nixon, told the ABC there was a “persistent, resistant old guard” within the force that made it difficult to remove bullies.

In November last year, then-Chief Commissioner Ken Lay said reports from 20 officers of alleged discrimination and harassment prompted the review by VEOHRC.

“There are men in this organisation whose behaviour towards women is reprehensible,” he said.
Cases included a supervisor who ostracised junior members so they would engage in sexual conduct, while another member groomed shy staff and made relentless sexual advances.

Graham Ashton calls for respect

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kate Jenkins with the review into sex discrimination and harassment in Victoria Police. Picture: David Caird
Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kate Jenkins with the review into sex discrimination and harassment in Victoria Police. Picture: David CairdSource:News Corp Australia

Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said the report was commissioned by police a year ago to investigate sexual harassment, predatory behaviour and sex discrimination within the force.

“The report leaves no doubt we have an issue with sexual harassment, predatory behaviour and sex discrimination in our organisation,” Mr Ashton said.

“I want to say from the outset — I accept all of the recommendations made by VEOHRC for Victoria Police and will action every single one.

“It saddens me that so many of our staff have had to endure terrible experiences, but our resolve for action is firm.

“The change starts today. Our response to this report will be all encompassing. I have appointed Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius to lead this vitally important work.”

Chief Commissioner Ashton said police would front the issue head on so Victoria Police could better support victims of sexual harassment.

The VEOHRC review has made suggestions to Victoria Police, some of which will be enforced today.

A safe space where victims can go for confidential support will be set up. They will be able to seek help before they make an official complaint.

In the next three to six months, the complaints process will be revamped with the creation of a Workplace Harm Unit.

It will examine complaints and refer them on to the appropriate body for investigation.

This will eliminate the existing process for local management to investigate complaints in their own workplace
Police can now access a Workplace Harm Hotline where referrals and advice can be provided.

Chief Commissioner Ashton said these changes were just a glint of what needed to be done.

“This means that over the next few years, there will be many changes made to the work environment,” he said.

“The expectations of behaviour will be backed up by clear consequences for those who cannot change and adapt.

“It is going to be challenging. It is going to be difficult. But we will not hide from it.”

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