Stats show sexual harassment and bullying prevalent in legal industry

Sexual harassment and bullying prevalent among lawyers

15th May 2019

Recent reports have indicated that UK law firms and government legal departments still suffer high levels of bullying and harassment.This was also high in contrast to their international peers, according to a study carried out by the International Bar Association.

7,000 lawyers were surveyed across 135 countries, and in the UK 62% of women and 41% of men had experiencedbullying.

1 in 3 women in the UK had been sexually harassed, with 1 in 4 cases not reported because victims feared the repercussions.

This could be due to greater awareness in the UK due to investment in diversity, inclusion and anti-bullying programmes, which results in raised awareness and higher levels of reporting when incidents take place.

Whilst at senior  level inclusion may be promoted as a core component of culture and brand, this may not translate to individual behaviour and ‘whistleblowing’ is not typical in the legal profession.

Training is essential in raising staff awareness and tackling the issue, and many companies we work with find that e-learning is a very discreet way for individuals to find out what crosses the line in terms of behaviour and educates them on what is unacceptable.

We have noticed a significant uptake of commissions of both bullying training courses and sexual harassment training courses.

Often the work we do involves carefully tailoring the courses to suit each particular client. We are able to do this as we have our own writers and developers in-house as opposed to pre-packaged training available off-the-peg.

We believe this methodology helps build a positive culture as it demonstrates to employees that their company is not only  ‘ticking a box’ but is carefully creating a nuanced training course, which is genuinely supportive of employees.

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