The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission has released its report into sexual harassment, discrimination, including predatory behaviour, within Victoria Police.
I welcome this report, even as I am dismayed by its contents.
This report shines a light on a deepset culture of hostility towards women in Victoria Police that has eroded the lives and careers of many sworn officers and public servants.
It reveals patterns of behaviours by many men that are founded upon an intrinsic lack of respect for women.
It’s not a ``few bad apples’’. It is an endemic inequality of power.
I hope the truth of this report and the change it will inspire will take away the reluctance, or even fear, that some women have felt in making a complaint.
Their experiences have been validated. They are real. They happened.
Most policemen respect women. Many have challenged sexism, sometimes to their cost.
I congratulate Victoria Police for recognising that sexual discrimination was contaminating their organisation and for commissioning the independent VEOHRC to investigate it.
I have every confidence that under the leadership of the Chief Commissioner of Police Graham Ashton and Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius police will do what is necessary to change the culture of disrespect.
This report provides a roadmap for reform, a chance to reset the organisation.
Police have already started down this road by establishing Taskforce Salus, re-examining historical cases and taking action to right wrongs.
This government will carefully consider the findings and recommendations made to us in the report to support police as they continue their transformation. This includes helping police as they implement a redress scheme.
I also thank The Police Association and the Community and Public Sector Union for supporting this review and for encouraging their members to take part.
But most of all I congratulate the women who told their stories and the others who could no longer stand by. It is you who have allowed change to begin.
Reviewed 10 February 2021