Changing the story on workplace sexual harassment #IStandForRespect

9 June 2021

Life Without Barriers has joined more than 100 of Australia’s leading businesses as signatories in the #IStandForRespect pledge, vowing to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace.

Image: Two women standing outside under a tree with their young son.

Coordinated by the Diversity Council of Australia, the zero-tolerance for sexual harassment pledge has been signed by more than 100 chief executives of major companies and organisations. It includes not for profits, professional and services firms, banks, resource companies, multinational organisations, and universities.

The pledge commits to:

  • Stand against gendered harassment and violence in all its forms;

  • Take steps in their organisation to address sexual and sex-based harassment, to make the workplace safe for everyone.

Joining a national conversation, our Chief Executive, Claire Robbs sent a fervent reminder to all staff earlier in the year that it was a zero-tolerance issue. As a leading social purpose organisation working in more than 440 communities across Australia, she said every single staff member at Life Without Barriers has the right to feel safe without compromise.

“There is no form of sexual assault or harassment, racism or discrimination that is okay or that can be minimised or explained away. Our organisation is crystal clear - we do not tolerate any form of violence, discrimination or harassment in any form, against any person”.

A 2018 survey by the Australian Human Rights Commission found one in three people experienced sexual harassment at work in the past five years. The nature of sexual harassment is intersectional and gendered. Almost two in five women (39%) and just over one in four men (26%) have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace in the past five years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were more likely to have experienced workplace sexual harassment than non-Indigenous people (53% and 32% respectively).

Sexual harassment has been unlawful in Australian workplaces since 1984. It is the business of every business. The financial and productivity costs are enormous. A conservative estimate of the total cost to the Australian economy is $3.8 billion. However, the cost to the individual can last a lifetime.

Claire Robbs, Chief Executive , Life Without Barriers pledge is below:

"Our organisation is built on a clear purpose and values that require us to be respectful, responsive, courageous, imaginative and to prioritise relationships always. These expectations help us create a workplace that has a zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment anywhere within the Life Without Barriers community. We know workplace sexual harassment can have a devastating impact on employees including their health and wellbeing. As Chief Executive of Life Without Barriers, I believe that by showing our commitment to the Diversity Council of Australia’s #IStandForRespect pledge, that we are making our position clear and we can encourage other employers to do the same.

"Through this pledge, I will continue to take a firm stance against gendered harassment and violence, and as a leader, I will invest in creating and sustaining a workplace that is positive for everyone. At Life Without Barriers, we are crystal clear - we stand against sexual harassment in all its forms and commit to taking steps in our organisation to address sexual harassment. We commit unreservedly and wholeheartedly to taking every necessary step we can to making our workplace safe for all." Claire Robbs.

Image: I stand up for respect logo.

Mental Health services

Life Without Barriers offers a number of mental health services in select communities across Australia