New Zealand Law Society - WWLA launches online sexual harassment survey

WWLA launches online sexual harassment survey

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The Wellington Women Lawyers’ Association (WWLA) has launched an independent online survey.

The survey is being launched as part of a range of initiatives to help lawyers prevent and deal with harassment and bullying.

The online anonymous survey has been designed to reach people who have worked, or currently work for law firms and other legal workplaces. It is extended to include interns, former lawyers, legal executives and support staff.

“Anecdotally, these people suffer sexual harassment too, but they have little power to speak up.  They deserve respect and safety at work, just like everyone else,” says WWLA Convenor, Steph Dyhrberg.

The WWLA survey will also extend to legal professionals who have practised at any time within the past decade “Ten years’ coverage gives a picture of harassment over time. We felt it was necessary to have a cut-off, not to silence people, but because if the data is too historical, the profession may see it as representing “the way things used to be,” says Ms Dyhrberg.

The survey responses, open until 30 June 2018, will be analysed by WWLA and if there are workplaces that feature repeatedly, they will write in confidence to each employer’s management.  

All responses will be anonymised and the survey asks respondents to identify the employer, not individuals.

“We believe legal employers need information about what their staff really experience, so they can take all steps to make their workplace safe and inclusive for all.  WWLA will not give an employer feedback if the employees may be identified, or it would be unsafe,” says Ms Dyhrberg.

“We would love to see every firm and every legal workplace, in-house legal team, etc, send the survey link out to all their staff, including support staff, and encourage them to participate if they have something to share. We really hope the broader profession rises to this challenge: it is imperative that we finally get real about changing our culture for the benefit of everyone.”

The survey can be accessed here.