OHS & WHS: WA addressing sexual harassment in the health care system

The Western Australian Department of Health and the Australian Medical Association (WA) have recently teamed up to stamp out sexual harassment in the state's health system with the launch of the SH-OUT campaign.

The campaign, initiated by the Taskforce Against Sexual Harassment (TASH) was formed between the two organisations after a survey undertaken by the AMA WA found sexual harassment was endemic across the WA health system.

SH-OUT, which stands for 'Sexual Harassment Out', consists of posters to be displayed in metropolitan hospitals and a website - http://www.sh-out.com.au - explaining what sexual harassment is and how to report inappropriate behaviour.

The survey found that:

  • Nearly one-third of respondents reported experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace;
  • Sexual harassment was disproportionately more common in female medical practitioners;
  • Female Registrars encountered the most sexual harassment; and
  • The reporting rates for sexual harassment were woefully low, indicating a lack of confidence in the reporting procedures offered by employers. 

WA Health Minister Roger Cook said: “The SH-OUT campaign is an important step towards a zero tolerance approach towards sexual harassment in the WA health system.

"We must drive whatever cultural and attitudinal changes need to occur within the WA health system to ensure sexual harassment is stamped out. Even one episode of sexual harassment is too much,” said Cook.

"I congratulate both the WA Department of Health and the Australian Medical Association (WA) for recognising the importance of this issue and leading the way with a campaign for change."


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