Sexual harassment, discrimination and workplace bullying
NEW SUpport services
On 29 October 2021 the President Michael McHugh SC launched two new initiatives to address sexual harassment, discrimination and workplace bullying at the New South Wales Bar and provide support to members:
- ‘Spot’, an online reporting tool to allow sexual harassment, discrimination and workplace bullying to be reported confidentially and anonymously; and
- The appointment of an independent Sexual Harassment Officer to provide dedicated, confidential support and advice to anyone who has experienced or witnessed sexual harassment, discrimination or workplace bullying at the New South Wales Bar.
Spot is an online tool which allows those who have experienced or witnessed discrimination, workplace bullying and sexual harassment at the New South Wales Bar to make a confidential record or anonymously report the behaviour to an independent Sexual Harassment Officer.
The Bar Association is committed to eliminating discrimination, workplace bullying and sexual harassment at the NSW Bar. Spot is designed to combat a reluctance to report by providing a secure, informal disclosure process to allow you to anonymously record your experience, have that account recorded and, if you wish, to seek support and better understand your options.
Find out how to make a record or submit a report below.
How does Spot work?
Spot is a completely secure online application which is designed to guide you through the process of reporting any incident.
To report an incident, you can initiate a conversation with Spot through the online platform. Spot is a bot, and is available 24 hours a day. It will prompt you to record exactly what you witnessed or experienced, who was involved, who saw it, where it happened and when. You are in control of the process. Spot will allow you to skip questions, add details and upload documents or records.
Anything you report to Spot will be entirely confidential and will not be seen by any other person.
Once you have created a record of an incident, Spot will provide you with a time stamped contemporaneous record of the incident which you can retain for your records.
If you wish, you can submit your record on an anonymous basis to the Bar Association’s independent Sexual Harassment Officer. You will be given the option of deciding whether or not you would like to be contacted by the Sexual Harassment Officer about the incident.
What is the Sexual Harassment Officer’s role?
The Sexual Harassment Officer, Jenny Houen, provides a dedicated, confidential support function to anyone who has experienced or witnessed discrimination, workplace bullying and/or sexual harassment at the NSW Bar. The role is completely independent of the Bar Association.
The Sexual Harassment Officer is available to listen to reports of inappropriate behaviour and provide support to those who have experienced or witnessed it. The Officer is not a grievance handler and does not have any involvement in investigating or adjudicating complaints.
You can contact the Sexual Harassment Officer directly for support and referral to services, or to seek advice about your options for making complaints.
You can contact Jenny via Spot, or directly on 0427 317 958 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. All communications with the Sexual Harassment Officer are entirely confidential.
BarCare will also continue to be available alongside the Spot reporting tool to help members of the Bar Association and their immediate families to manage emotional and stress-related problems.
What will be done with my anonymous report?
Your Spot report will remain anonymous and will not be seen by anyone else. Once you have created the record you don’t have to do anything else with it. You can retain the report as a contemporaneous record and consider your reporting options.
You may choose to send your report to the independent Sexual Harassment Officer via Spot on an anonymous basis. If you do so, the Sexual Harassment Officer may ask you some follow up questions via the Spot platform, which you can decide to respond to on an anonymous basis.
The Sexual Harassment Officer will periodically consider the aggregated anonymised data which is collected by Spot and will report to the Bar Association on identified trends and themes.
What will the Bar Association do with anonymised data?
Spot will enable the Bar Association to be given a more complete picture of what is happening at the Bar.
Your reports, however minor, will all add up to give the Bar Association a clear picture of what needs to change so that it can be stopped.