New Zealand Law Society - Next step in IBA campaign against workplace bullying and sexual harassment

Next step in IBA campaign against workplace bullying and sexual harassment

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A resource hub including a best practice guide, education tools and a regulatory discussion paper is in the pipeline for the next phase of the campaign against bullying and sexual harassment in legal workplaces, the International Bar Association has announced.

The announcement comes one year after the IBA's Legal Policy and Research Unit launched the report 'Us Too? Bullying and Sexual Harassment in the Legal Profession', which included a study of 7,000 legal professionals across 135 countries.

A global engagement campaign to discuss and promote the report's findings spanned 30 cities. In New Zealand, presentations occurred in August in Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown.

A comprehensive resource hub established by late 2020 is the primary goal in the IBA's next phase. This will include:

  • a workplace best practice guide that will succinctly outline practical steps that workplaces of all shapes and sizes can take to better prevent and address bullying and sexual harassment.
  • education tools to improve anti-harassment training, including a dedicated IBA-created online training module and potential virtual reality training.
  • a discussion paper on the regulatory dimensions of inappropriate behaviour and emerging regulatory trends.

Us Too? reported one in two female respondents and one in three male respondents have experienced bullying in legal workplaces worldwide. Meanwhile, one in three female and 1 in 14 male respondents had been sexually harassed at work. Survey responses from Oceania (Australia and New Zealand combined) showed the highest rates of bullying.

Human Rights Institute submits to UN Special Rapportuer on violence against women

The IBA also announced its Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) filed a submission including 20 recommendations aimed at informing the Rapportuer's next report; Rape as a grave and systematic human rights violation and gender-based violence against women.

The IBAHRI's submission is a result of the Special Rapportuer, Ms Dubravka Šimonovic, issuing a questionnaire on the criminalisation and prosecution of rape in relation to England and Wales.

The submission's reccommendations call upon UN Member States to act in their responsibilities to criminalise and prosecute rape.