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New portal launched to report harassment within profession

A new online portal has been launched in Western Australia to report harassment and inappropriate behaviour within workplaces, something the state’s Attorney-General has welcomed.

user iconLauren Croft 03 July 2023 Big Law
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The Legal Practice Board of Western Australia, which has statutory responsibility for the regulation of all legal practitioners in the state, launched Speak Safely on Friday (30 June) to combat harassment within legal workplaces.

The new portal will allow anyone who has experienced or witnessed harassment or inappropriate behaviour by a lawyer or anyone else in legal workplaces to report it securely, confidentially, and anonymously if they wish. This can be in the form of informal reports or formal complaints.

West Australian Attorney-General John Quigley has welcomed the launch of the new online portal, which can be accessed on the board’s website.


“Harassment and inappropriate behaviour — including sexual harassment — should not be tolerated in any workplace, including legal workplaces,” he said.

“Such behaviour is potentially a breach of professional obligations and may impact on a lawyer’s fitness to practice. It could amount to professional misconduct or unsatisfactory professional conduct, with specific disciplinary consequences.”

When receiving reports, the board has numerous options available in terms of taking further action. It will depend on the level of detail provided, the wishes of the reporter, and the outcome of the board’s assessment.

The board could also be obliged to inform other authorities depending on the nature and severity of a report.

This comes after legal practice boards in Victoria, NSW, Tasmania, and South Australia introduced a similar system, for which they are already seeing positive results.

“Harassment can also seriously affect the mental health, sense of security, work satisfaction and productivity of employees, clients, and others,” the Attorney-General added.

“The Speak Safely portal reflects the Legal Practice Board’s duty to protect the public and raise professional standards in the legal profession, and to promote integrity and positive cultural change in legal profession workplaces.”

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