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Leaked report reveals extent of sexual harassment in Westminster

Westminster Palace

Nearly one in five people working at Westminster said they experienced or witnessed sexual harassment or inappropriate behaviour in the last 12 months, according to a leaked report. 

The survey, which was commissioned following allegations about behaviour in parliament, received responses from over 250 people who experienced sexual harassment in the last year.

The findings also coincide with a report from a cross-party working group set up to examine the culture of sexual harassment and bullying in Westminster.

They propose a new independent complaints procedure and recommend mandatory training for all staff in Westminster.

Last month, the Government published a revised version of their code of conduct for ministers which included updates on harassment and inappropriate behaviour.

Update:

Andrea Leadsom spoke in the House of Commons today about the working group’s proposed policies to tackle inappropriate behaviour in Parliament.

On the introduction of a shared behaviour code, she said: “[it] will be consulted on, and will make clear the behavioural expectations of everyone in the parliamentary community”.

The working group also propose separate procedures for sexual harassment and sexual violence, and bullying and intimidation.

She stressed: “This is an important distinction and, although everyone has acknowledged the severity of complaints of sexual harassment, evidence from staff made it clear that instances of intimidation and bullying are in fact more prevalent.”

 

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