Better equipping hospitality staff to recognise and respond to sexual harassment, a new bystander intervention program was launched yesterday by the Australian Hotels Association.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2021-2022 around 1.7 million Australian adults, comprised of about 1.3 million women and almost 500,000 men, experienced sexual harassment.

Of these experiences, an estimated 320,000 women experienced sexual harassment at their workplace, in person.

This new program is designed to provide strategies to “interrupt and challenge inappropriate behaviour and violence among patrons and colleagues in the hospitality industry”.

CEO of Australian Hotels’ Association South Australia (AHA|SA), Anna Moeller, said the Association was proud to be at the forefront of such a proactive response.

“Sexual harassment and any other form of anti-social behaviour is inappropriate in any workplace in any industry.

“The safety of hotel staff is of paramount concern to us and the Bystander Intervention training for those already working within hotels that we are launching this week will play an integral role in ensuring that staff in our industry are equipped with the knowledge, tools and resources to enhance their safety while at work.”

The South Australian government agrees, with plans to make such training mandatory across all licensed venues in the hospitality industry by incorporating it into the current RSA training.

Minister Andrea Michaels said the goal is to eradicate sexual harassment from the entire sector.

“Mandatory bystander training would help empower hospitality workers to identify and respond to sexual harassment as well as play a role in changing disrespectful attitudes toward women which contribute to making them unsafe,” stated the Minister.

The government is also aiming to provide training around the prevention of drink spiking. decision by the Malinauskas Government came after feedback had been given by What Were You Wearing Australia, the United Workers Union and the Equal Opportunity Commission, along with the recent release of the report ‘Not So Hospitable: Sexual Harassment in the Adelaide Hospitality Industry’ published by Jamie Bucirde and the University of Melbourne.

Katrine Hildyard MP, Minister for Women and the Prevention of Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence and also Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing said there is no place in the community for any type of sexual violence.

“Our Government is determined to use every lever we have to address gender inequality and the misogynistic, disrespectful attitudes that lead to sexual harassment and sexual violence.

“That means ensuring more people have an understanding of what constitutes sexual harassment and violence, what drives it and how to feel confident to speak up and act against it.”

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