Jesuit Social Services contributed to the Department of Justice and Community Safety’s consultation on addressing sexual harassment in Victorian workplaces. We welcome the Victorian Government’s efforts to develop reforms to prevent and better respond to sexual harassment in workplaces.

Our submission draws on our experience of working with boys and men for over 40 years and is premised on our understanding of the gendered drivers of violence.

We highlight that the rigid adherence to gender norms, roles and stereotyped constructions of masculinity and femininity is a driver that underpins sexual harassment. Research, including our Man Box study, has shown that men who conform to dominant masculine norms that men should be tough, stoic, dominant and in control (The Man Box norms), are more likely to engage in risky behaviours and less likely to engage in health promotion behaviours.

Our submission made a number of key recommendations around preventing sexual harassment in the workplace and supporting workers to report, including:

  • Prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace by investing in research to better understand the behaviours and attitudes in workplaces related to The Man Box norms, including links to sexual harassment.
  • Workforce capacity building to engage on issues related to the Man Box with a focus on working with men to prevent gender-based harassment.
  • Prioritise investment for prevention initiatives delivered in high risk workplaces that seek to raise awareness of, and challenge, gendered norms to create inclusive and equitable environments.
  • Implementation of staff training and development around the impacts of the Man Box to promote a supportive and safe workplace culture that encourages reporting.