Mine Sexual Assaults: Run & Hide Must Stop - UnionsWA

Mine Sexual Assaults: Run & Hide Must Stop

UnionsWA has responded to the release today of the Independent Review of WorkSafe Mines Safety report.

Owen Whittle, UnionsWA Secretary said:

“This independent report into the functions of WorkSafe is welcome, including recommendations to improve funding for monitoring and compliance to prevent and prosecute sexual assault in mine workplaces and associated accommodation.

“Also welcome is the recommendation to ensure that victims, mostly women, have access to needed support.

“We share the concern expressed in the report for greater enforcement to ensure justice.

“Deeply concerning is this quote, worth reporting in full, from page 37 of the Independent Review:

"There are instances of opportunistic and deliberate breaches of duties to notify WorkSafe Mines Safety of sexual assault and sexual harassment, with some duty holders demonstrating ongoing non-compliance."

“If employers actively hide crimes and fail to make reports to Police or WorkSafe, there is little that regulation and monitoring can do to keep women safe.

“The FIFO resources sector work presents particular dangers for working women as a male dominated industry which provides camp style accommodation in remote locations

“Yes, a well-resourced regulator with strong powers under law is vital, but at the end of the day, if women workers are to be safe employers need to step up to meet their duty of care.

“The industry has seemed to be more concerned with their corporate reputation than with having crimes investigated.

“Historically women have been denied well-paying jobs in the FIFO resources sector due to traditional segregation of work roles, discrimination and stereotyping.


"Now add to that sexual assault, meaning women are literally harassed out of their job as well.

“The more women the resource sector gets into its jobs the better.

“Their presence will be a critical indicator of improvement in the underlying workplace cultural problems that have facilitated crimes.

“Not all industries are as rich and profitable as the resources sector.

“Many women face sexual violence and discrimination in their work in fields as diverse as retail, hospitality, education and others.

“It is essential that all working women feel safe at work.

“The measures that are undertaken to protect women in the resource sector can and should be expanded to protect all workplaces and all working people. “

The full report can be found online here.

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