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Sexual harassment rife in Victoria Police

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Commissioner Graham Ashton pledges compensation for victimsJohn Silvester: Can police culture change?’Boys will be boys’: toxic, sexist police culture haunts victimsComment: Fear keeps victims silentVictoria Police: Sexist from the start’I kept thinking, I am going to get raped in a police car”The next thing I knew he was inside my house’Abuse in Victoria Police: The”charismatic” senior constable’Just some lesbian drama’: ex-policewoman ‘bullied’ by colleaguesThe sexual harassment figures that shame the forceSenior police will apologise and offer compensation to staff sexually harassed and assaulted by fellow officers after an independent investigation uncovered hundreds of cases where victims were too frightened to complain.

The damning Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission report to be released on Wednesday found Victoria Police has a culture of cover up, acted unlawfully and is riddled with unreported sexual discrimination and harassment cases.

Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton has promised to implement the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission’s recommendations. Photo: Paul Jeffers

Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton has promised to implement the commission’s 21 recommendations that will result in the biggest structural changes in the police force in more than 40 years.

As part of the investigation nearly 500 responders to a confidential survey said they had been sexually harassed by colleagues in the past five years, with a small number (less that10) saying they were victims of assault, including rape and attempted rape.

“Of extreme concern was the number of people who reported thoughts of suicide,” the inquiry found.

The harassment includes sexually suggestive comments, unwelcomed physical contact, leering, indecent exposure, repeated advances, abuse of social media and requests for sex. Some victims reported assaults inside stations and police cars, with one threatening to use pepper spray to protect herself from a colleague.

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