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Commission to examine sex discrimination and sexual harassment within Ambulance Victoria

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission will examine discrimination and sexual harassment within Ambulance Victoria as a part of an independent review requested by Ambulance Victoria Chair Ken Lay and Ambulance Victoria CEO Associate Professor Tony Walker earlier today.

27 October 2020

The review was requested promptly after reports emerged of sex discrimination and sexual harassment within the organisation.

“It is distressing to hear that women working within Ambulance Victoria have endured sexual harassment and discrimination in their workplace,” said Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton.

“Speaking up about these things is no easy task, and I commend the courageous individuals who’ve come forward for sharing their stories and the harm they’ve experienced. Bringing these experiences to light is such an important catalyst for genuine cultural change within an organisation.”

While the terms of reference for the review are still being finalised, the Commission expects the review to examine sex discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation in Ambulance Victoria workplaces. The Commission will conduct the review using its independent review function under the Equal Opportunity Act.

“Independent reviews are a valuable tool for critically assessing a workplace’s culture, biases and values and for developing important accountability mechanisms. They can help an organisation embed a workplace culture that values diversity and inclusion, and that respects women and people of all genders,” said Commissioner Hilton.

“This work takes committed leadership, a desire to continually improve and an understanding that a safe an inclusive culture is critical to an organisation’s performance. Ambulance Victoria has acted decisively, and we look forward to working with them.”

The Commission has significant experience in conducting independent reviews. In 2019, it concluded a five-year review of sex discrimination and sexual harassment, including predatory behaviour, within Victoria Police. Through the review, Victoria Police has implemented a range of initiatives to help it achieve gender equality by 2020.

“Through our five-year independent review of Victoria Police, we have seen the transformative change that is possible within even one of the state’s largest and most complex public institutions,” said Commissioner Hilton. “While there is still a way to go, Victoria Police has made significant progress to improve the treatment of women within its ranks, to ensure they can access every opportunity and be treated fairly as they carry out their service to the Victorian public.”

People who have experienced discrimination or sexual harassment can contact the Commission’s Enquiry Line on 1300 292 153 for more information about their rights and how they can make a complaint.

Media contact

Peter Davies
Mobile: 0447 526 642
Email: peter.davies@veohrc.vic.gov.au

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Address
Level 3, 204 Lygon Street Carlton Victoria 3053

General enquiries
enquiries@veohrc.vic.gov.au

Reception
1300 891 848

Enquiry line
1300 292 153 or (03) 9032 3583

Interpreters
1300 152 494

NRS Voice Relay
1300 555 727 then use 1300 292 153

Media enquiries
0447 526 642

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as First Australians and recognises their culture, history, diversity and deep connection to the land.

We acknowledge that the Commission is on the land of the Kulin Nation and pay our respects to Elders past and present.