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World Risk Poll Violence and Harassment

Australia and New Zealand listed as worst global region for workplace violence and harassment

Almost half of workers (48%) from Australia and New Zealand report having experienced violence and harassment in the workplace at some point in their life.

Detailed in a report by Lloyd’s Register Foundation – Safe at Work? Global experiences of violence and harassment – Australia and New Zealand is the region where people say they have experienced workplace violence and harassment the most. On a country basis, almost half (49%) of Australians – more than any other country – and 42% of workers from New Zealand have experienced it. The global average stands at 21%.

The results of the Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll, powered by Gallup, also found that over half of women (52%) in the region have experienced violence and harassment – whether physical, psychological or sexual violence – in the workplace at some point in their life. In comparison, 44% of men reported such experiences.

The report also explores the frequency of the respondents’ experiences. For example, of those in Australia and New Zealand that had experienced psychological harassment, 79% confirmed that they had experienced repeat occurrences (three or more times). Almost two thirds (65%) of participants from the region who had encountered sexual violence and harassment had experienced it repeatedly, while 72% who experienced physical violence and harassment reported multiple incidents. In all three cases, Australia and New Zealand was the region which had faced the highest rate of repeat experiences*.

Dr Sarah Cumbers, Director of Evidence and Insight at Lloyd’s Register Foundation, said: “The latest results from our World Risk Poll do not paint a positive picture for the region. The data allows us to identify both the frequency and type of violence and harassment that workers are experiencing. Unfortunately for Australia and New Zealand, a majority of participants from the region who reported experience of violence and harassment to the Poll had experienced it three or more times.

“Nobody should go to work and face violence and harassment – whether physical, psychological or sexual – yet our data suggests this is happening at an alarmingly high rate. There is a need for immediate action in Australia and New Zealand, with interventions set up to ensure workers are better protected. Business leaders, governments and trade bodies must come together and ensure these findings are not ignored.”

To compile the global report, 125,000 people across 121 countries were polled about their experiences of workplace violence and harassment. All those interviewed were given a comprehensive definition of each of the three forms of ‘violence and harassment’ (physical, psychological, and sexual) that they were asked about.


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