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‘This culture of respect is still lacking’: State government push to encourage bystanders to intervene in sexual harassment 

3aw drive

While 90 per cent of Australians think you should intervene if you see someone being sexually harassed, less than 40 per cent actually take action.

The state government has today announced the expansion of a pilot program which hopes to improve that figure.

The Andrews government has today announced $1450,000 funding for a toolbox teaching bystanders how to step in and take action against offensive behaviour.

The funding to expand the program, which has been trialled in universities, into workplaces.

Early results from the pilot study have found it increases bystander intervention rates.

“We’ve had really promising, really encouraging results from the initial phase of this pilot,” Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams told 3AW’s Nick McCallum.

“Bystander intervention increased by 10 per cent in the group that received this education.”

Ms Williams said the toolbox is, sadly, much needed in Victoria.

“This culture of respect is still lacking, which means we do need to make sure that we’re equipping our population to be able to make these sorts of interventions, have these sort of discussions, in order to ultimately change some of these really negative outcomes that we know are impacting on women in our community,” she said.

“We, as a population, understand that these sorts of behaviours are pretty unsavoury and unhelpful, but we don’t always know what to say, how to say it, and to do it in a way that keeps us safe.”

The toolbox provides advice on how to intervene in a safe way — and includes both soft measures such as making light-hearted comments to stop the situation, and more severe interventions such as making formal workplace complaints.

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