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WA judiciary participates in landmark sexual harassment training

Members of the judiciary in Western Australia have participated in a first-of-its-kind training on workplace conduct and sexual harassment, in what has been described as a “superior learning experience”.

user iconLauren Croft 11 December 2023 The Bar
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In an initiative first launched in August this year, the College of Law Western Australia (College), in conjunction with Equal Employment Opportunity Specialists (EEO Specialists) and the Experience Lab, has been engaged by the West Australian judiciary to develop and deliver customised training, tailored to the unique working environments of courts and tribunals.

Members of the West Australian judiciary have now completed the ground-breaking new training on workplace conduct – as the prevalence of sexual harassment and bullying in Australian workplaces remains an ongoing issue.

Attended by over 100 West Australian judicial officers, the training program reached beyond traditional methods of lecture-style presentations to incorporate interactive and immersive techniques, executive director at the College of Law Western Australia Catherine Stokes explained.


“The training revolves around a play set in a judicial workplace, in which various scenes are re-enacted under the guidance of a specialist facilitator,” she said.

“The audience then interacts with the actors, who stay in character, to learn, reflect and understand the experiences of the characters involved.”

The College, EEO Specialists and the Experience Lab worked with judicial officers, court associates and judicial support staff to ensure the training was authentic.

“The feedback we have received from participants has been overwhelmingly positive; the judicial officers found it relevant, thought-provoking, and a superior learning experience,” Ms Stokes added.

“We are tackling a complex issue, and it requires an innovative solution.”

This program’s inception came after the Honourable Chief Justice Peter Quinlan and the Honourable Justice Janine Pritchard, president of the State Administrative Tribunal, attended a theatre-based sexual harassment training program created for the West Australian legal profession in 2021 and 2022 by the College and the Law Society of Western Australia. Following this, and at the request of the Interjurisdictional Education Committee, the College commissioned a new offering for the judiciary in the state.

“This training covers an important, relevant and sometimes controversial topic and is timely for all judicial officers,” Pritchard J said.

“It is an example of best practice in training for the judiciary.”

Given the national importance of addressing workplace safety and sexual harassment issues, Ms Stokes emphasised that a national rollout of this training for the judiciary would be a logical next step.

“Part of the College’s mission is to be of service to the legal profession,” she said.

“The College is committed to help foster a culture of respect in the legal workplace through initiatives such as these, which are contemporary, accessible and credible.”