Victoria Police commits to an organisation where LGBTI employees are proud, visible,safe

Victoria Police’s continues its ongoing efforts to provide employees with an inclusive and respectful workplace following the release of a new report that explores the workplace harm experienced by its LGBTI employees.

Victoria Police and the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) are today releasing the report, Proud, visible, safe: Responding to Workplace Harm Experienced by LGBTI Employees at Victoria Police, at a special community event at Footscray Police Station to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton commissioned VEOHRC in early 2018 to conduct the review that focused on the experiences and impact of workplace harm of our LGBTI employees and address barriers to reporting.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Lisa Hardeman of Victoria Police’s VEOHRC Review Response Partnerships and Innovation team said the report highlighted the organisation’s clear commitment to building a culture of acceptance and inclusion for its LGBTI employees and identified opportunities to further improve.

“While the report praises our efforts in recent years towards the inclusion of our LGBTI employees, including through dedicated employee networks and LGBTI awareness training, the review found that homophobia and transphobia was still tolerated in some workplaces.

“We have made great strides as an organisation but know that we cannot be satisfied until every employee can go to work as their authentic self. This report gives us the information and guidance we need to make meaningful changes where it is most needed.

“The report also recognised a number of stations which modelled safe, inclusive and respectful behaviour, including through strong leadership and displaying rainbow flags, a powerful way to show support. The report identified opportunities to learn from these stations.

“We know that people who are able to confidently be themselves are better engaged, have increased satisfaction in their professional and personal lives, and provide better outcomes for the people they interact with.”

Key findings of the report found that:

• homophobia and transphobia are tolerated in some Victoria Police workplaces

• LGBTI employees have, and continue to experience homophobic comments, aggressive language, sexual harassment and discrimination

• there are significant barriers to reporting LGBTI-related workplace harm, including low confidence and trust in formal reporting pathways and poor management responses

• bystanders are generally unwilling to call out poor behaviour when they see them occurring.

“Homophobic and transphobic language has no place in our organisation. These comments have lasting impacts and everyone has a role to play in calling out these unacceptable behaviours,” A/AC Hardeman said.

“Victoria Police accepts all of the report’s recommendations in full, including improving reporting and workforce data, workplace harm reporting and training, messaging and displaying strong leadership.

“We will continue further expanding its LGBTI awareness and ally training, as well as encouraging senior officers of the organisation to lead by example.

“Victoria Police’s participation in events such as IDAHOBIT and the annual pride march is another way to demonstrate to both the wider community and our employees that they are supported, respected and celebrated.

“We thank Commissioner Kristen Hilton and the VEOHRC team for their continued work and guidance. Thanks to this report, we are now in a better position to become an organisation where LGBTI employees are proud, visible and safe.”

The full report, Proud, visible, safe: Responding to Workplace Harm Experienced by LGBTI Employees at Victoria Police, is available on both the Victoria Police and VEOHRC websites.

/Public Release. View in full here.