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Half of women PSOs, one-in-four female police officers sexually harassed at work

Female PSOs are experiencing sexual harassment twice as often as female police officers across the force, according to an independent review.

One-in-four female police officers reported sexual harassment at work in a Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission’s review of Victoria Police.

For female PSOs, this figure was doubled; half reported workplace sexual harassment.

Lisa Hardeman, Acting Assistant Commissioner of Victoria Police, said police have difficulty attracting women to PSO roles.

“Because of the hours that they work — 4pm until the last train — it’s really difficult to inspire people with the non-family friendly hours,” she told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“Therefore we find that there is a very low percentage of females that are currently applying to become PSOs.”

Ms Hardeman said the overwhelmingly male PSO force is responsible for the high rate of harassment.

“It’s because of the masculine environment that is created when you don’t have numbers of females in work units,” she said.

Almost ten per cent of male police officers also reported sexual harassment in the workplace.

The Acting Assistant Commissioner said workplace harassment has fallen within the force, but it’s still too high.

“We have made progress but there is still a lot of work to do,” she said.

Ms Hardeman said Victoria Police is trying to take a leading role to end workplace harassment and discrimination.

“We have actively gone out and engaged the Victorian Equal Opportunity Human Rights Commission to do this piece of work,” she said.

“It’s shown us that we have work to do moving forward to make us … a safe and inclusive workplace.

“We are trying to be leaders in this space.”

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