News State Victoria News Rape, harassment rampant in Victoria Police

Rape, harassment rampant in Victoria Police

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Female officers have been raped, drugged and forced to fend off unwanted sexual advances from their Victoria Police colleagues while on duty.

Some were driven to secluded spots, under the guise of speed limit enforcement duty, where they were pressured to engage in sexual activities.

The cases are in a Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission report that found women were more likely to experience sexual harassment inside Victoria Police than in the wider community.

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The findings prompted chief commissioner Graham Ashton to “unreservedly” apologise and insist there is no room for that in Victoria Police.

Officers guilty of predatory behaviour would be sacked, he said.

“Victoria Police will never be the same again following this report – there will be no turning back from this point,” Mr Ashton told reporters.

VEOHRC Commissioner Kate Jenkins said some of the stories they uncovered in their survey of 5000 Victoria Police staff were shocking.

She also commended police for seeking the review.

“It was not driven by scandal, but because police recognised they needed to change,” she said.

The first recommendation in the report is a compensation fund for victims.

The others mostly focus on strengthening complaints and reporting procedures, and changing culture.

Victoria Police accepted all 20 recommendations and will implement them over the next three to five years.

Police Minister Wade Noonan backed police plans for a compensation scheme but said it was too early to say how much it would cost or how it would work.

Police Association secretary Ron Iddles said victims often bore the emotional scars of harassment for the rest of their lives.

“For some of them they are psychologically affected… if they see a police vehicle they basically shudder and get the shakes – some of them will never be the same again,” he told reporters.

The review found 40 per cent of females in Victoria Police had experienced sexual harassment during their careers compared to 33 per cent of women in the general community and 25 per cent of women in the Australian Defence Force.

Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius has been tasked with ensuring change occurs.

The Human Rights Commission will audit police to ensure the recommendations are followed through.


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