44% of women harassed at work

  • Business Advice
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Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

New research by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust has found alarming levels of violent, aggressive, sexual and unwanted behaviours inflicted on employees whilst in work, or on their way to work.

The findings, supported by Peoplesafe in aid of National Personal Safety Day 2022, concentrated on workers in the night-time economy - i.e., anyone working for at least 3 hours between 8pm and 6am.

The figures highlight a rising trend of violence against women. 44% of women had experienced harassment, compared with 26% of men. An overwhelming majority of reported cases of harassment (83%) were perpetrated by a man.

34% of all those surveyed had experienced one form or another of unwanted behaviour whilst working or travelling to work. 15% had experienced sexual harassment, but 60% of those never reported these experiences to their employer. They did not believe any action would be taken, or any difference would be made by reporting it.

Similarly, three quarters of respondents who were harassed at work or travelling to work did not report the incident to the police. This correlates with Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) figures from April 2022, which indicate 99% of rapes reported to police do not result in a conviction.

Suky Bhaker, CEO of Suzy Lamplugh Trust, expressed extreme concern with the findings:

‘[They] demonstrate that harassment of night-time economy workers is widespread and under-reported, with women being more likely to experience harassment than men. Testimonies from victims indicated a lack of faith in both employers and the police to tackle these behaviours and take reports seriously. This is not good enough. Every employee deserves to be free from violence, aggression and harassment’.

Based on the findings of the report, the Trust has made formal recommendations to the government and employers for significant changes to policy, including:

  • Support for the Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill, which legislates to require employers to take all reasonable steps to stop workplace sexual harassment.
  • Closer cooperation with specialist services to build a national framework on tackling harassment within businesses.
  • Calling on employers to publish their Personal Safety policy, outlining how they protect workers from violence, aggression and harassment.

MP Wera Hobhouse, who brought the Worker Protection Bill to Parliament as a private member, has seen it recently pass its Second Reading in the House of Commons. Commenting on the report, she said:

“What is needed is a culture shift, so our understanding of acceptable behaviour ensures that staff at all places of work are safe. This Bill, alongside the work of organisations like the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, I hope will start the culture shift we desperately need.”

If you have more questions on preventing harassment in your workplace, visit BrAInbox today where you can find answers to questions like How do I support my staff who have been subject to inappropriate behaviour in the workplace?

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