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In 2022, the Victorian Government responded to the Ministerial Taskforce on Workplace Sexual Harassment. As part of this response, WorkSafe Victoria is leading the delivery of 13 recommendations including Recommendation #4 which has resulted in the expansion of the WorkWell program to prevent work-related gendered violence including sexual harassment.

WorkSafe WorkWell Respect Fund

WorkSafe’s WorkWell is leading a transformative shift in the way workplaces understand and address psychological health and safety. To achieve this, WorkWell, through a range of interventions is providing employers with access to knowledge sharing, resources and funding opportunities aimed at building the capability, confidence, and commitment of leaders to drive organisational-wide cultural change to prevent mental injury.

Work related gendered violence including sexual harassment is a serious occupational health and safety issue that is defined as any behaviour directed at any person, or affects a person because of their sex, gender or sexual orientation, or because they do not adhere to socially prescribed gendered roles, that creates a risk to health and safety, mental health included.

The aim of the WorkSafe WorkWell Respect Fund is to support projects that design and deliver evidence-based initiatives within high-risk industries to prevent work related gendered violence including sexual harassment. The principles underpinning this program are:

  • Sustainability
  • Lived experience and human centred design
  • Working in partnership
  • Building evidence and sharing knowledge
  • Prevention focused
  • Creating systems level change

Our Equal Local Government Project

In 2023, GWH successfully applied to the WorkSafe WorkWell Respect Fund. The project is being led by GWH in collaboration with One Gippsland members including the six Local Governments, Federation University, TAFE Gippsland and Gippsland Centre Against Sexual Assault (GCASA).

Our Equal Local Government Project aims to address Local Government as an industry with a specific focus on front line, community and personal services staff where there are higher rates statistically of women and where safety and hierarchical aspects of these roles further increase the risk of gendered violence including sexual harassment.

GWH in partnership with Gippsland Local Governments, Federation University, TAFE Gippsland and GCASA aims to strengthen and support local government structures to reduce workplace gendered violence including sexual harassment by:

  • Building Local Government capability to recognise, respond and prevent work related gendered violence including sexual harassment.
  • Creating sustainable systems and system level change to prevent and respond to work-related gendered violence including sexual harassment.
  • Sharing resources and learnings through knowledge translation that enable a workplace culture free from work related gendered violence including sexual harassment.
  • Maximising impact through partnership and co-design processes to develop resources and learning and development opportunities that future industry can use.

What is Work-related Gendered Violence?

Work-related gendered violence is when someone faces harmful behaviour at work because of their gender, sexual orientation, or because they don’t fit into traditional gender roles.

This could mean being targeted because they’re:

  • A woman
  • Identify as LGBTIQA+
  • They don’t conform to expected gender norms

Work-related gendered violence is not just about direct attacks, like verbal or physical abuse, but also includes witnessing or being affected by violence, like overhearing hurtful conversations. This kind of violence puts people’s health and safety at risk.

Gendered Violence and Gender Equity

The connection between gendered violence and gender equity lies in the fact that gendered violence often stems from unequal power dynamics and social norms. Promoting gender equity is crucial for preventing and combating gendered violence, as it aims to dismantle those unequal factors that enable violence to occur.

Resources

WorkWell Toolkit Homepage

Includes multiple topics on workplace diversity and inclusion as well as mental health safety basics.

WorkWell Toolkit on Work-related Gendered Violence

The WorkWell Toolkit provides a step-by-step approach to prevent mental injuries and promote safe and mentally healthy workplaces.

WorkSafe – Work-related Gendered Violence Including Sexual Harassment

Foundational knowledge on Work-related gendered violence including sexual harassment, along with links to key documents including fact sheets, guidance for employers.

Our Project Partners

“As as CEO, I am committed to creating an environment where everyone can freely unleash their potential and pursue their professional aspirations, regardless of gender or diversity. Ultimately, I aim to foster a culture where every employee feels appreciated, acknowledged, and where diversity is embraced and celebrated.”
– Steven Piasente, Chief Executive Officer, Latrobe City Council

” I am proud to be part of Our Equal Local Government project because gendered violence occurs in Gippsland communities at a rate that is completely unacceptable. As a leader of a local government organisation, I am passionate about doing my part to ensure our organisation is free from gendered violence and discrimination in the workplace, and demonstrates leadership in our community.” 
– Kerryn Ellis, Chief Executive Officer, South Gippsland Shire Council

“As Mayor of Wellington Shire Council, and representing our community through One Gippsland, I am fully dedicated to supporting initiatives like ‘Our Equal Local Government’ that strive to eradicate work-related gendered violence. It’s imperative that every workplace fosters an environment of respect, inclusion, and equality, and I’m proud to champion this cause alongside our local partners.”
– Cr Ian Bye, Mayor Wellington Shire Council. 

“The right to safety within a workplace and a life space is a human right! Thus our commitment to this project.”
– Jane Barr, Chief Executive Officer, Gippsland Centre Against Sexual Assault