New Zealand Bar Association says harassment survey needs to be catalyst for change
New Zealand Bar Association President Clive Elliott QC, says a survey of lawyers finding high levels of sexual harassment and bullying in the legal profession needs to be a catalyst for change.
The Colmar Brunton survey of more than 3,500 lawyers shows that nearly a third of female lawyers have been sexually harassed at some point in the careers and more than half of all lawyers say they have been bullied.
Clive Elliott says the survey findings are disturbing as are other recent revelations about sexual harassment.
“The survey has unveiled for all to see, what obviously many in our profession knew already. Clearly what has been shown is intolerable and there is no option other than this, and other recent events, being a catalyst for real change in the legal profession,” he says.
Mr Elliott is urging NZBA members, and all in the legal profession, not to tolerate, and to take action, against any behaviour that may lead to instances of bullying or sexual harassment. “This includes those working in the legal profession who are not lawyers, and who in many cases have less power to speak out about what is happening to them.
“We need to be committted and motivated individually to different standards of behaviour. This needs to be reinforced collectively.
“As an association, we are committed to be leaders in this process of cultural change. We are 100 percent behind behaviour change in the profession that will see an end to the appalling level of sexual harassment and bullying that we have heard about.”