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Charter for the Advancement of Women

Elit Lawyers by McGirr & Snell is proud to be one of the first signatories to the Law Institute of Victoria’s Charter for the Advancement of Women.

The Charter for the Advancement of Women adopts the NSW Law Society’s Charter for the Advancement of Women in the Legal Profession as well as its guidelines.

With the support of over 300 signatories, the Charter promotes the attraction and retention of more female practitioners and their advancement into leadership positions in pursuit of gender equality in the workplace. In addition, the Charter aims to establish procedurally fair and transparent discrimination and harassment complaints processes across Uniform Law jurisdictions.

The Charter consists of the following resources:

 

The Charter is also accompanied by Guidelines that are designed to help law practises fulfil the Charter commitments in respect of women in the legal profession.

Victorian law firms can sign up using this link.

The Law Society of NSW has also recently launched a sexual harassment legal portal, which has the sole purpose of combatting the prevalent issue of sexual harassment in legal workplaces. The portal provides crucial resources for solicitors to shed light on misconduct in the legal profession, including steps that solicitors can take to report harassment and other inappropriate behaviour in the workplace.

The Law Society of NSW has announced that the portal will provide the following:

  • information on the steps to take if those working in the legal profession have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment, discrimination or victimisation and wish to report it;
  • resources that shed light on sexual harassment in the legal profession and initiatives aimed at addressing it;
  • important information on new Law Society of NSW training devised to inform the profession and combat sexual harassment in the law;
  • Workplace Guide and Model Discrimination and Harassment Policies – a practical guide published by the Law Society to help identify and eliminate discriminatory practices;
  • The Charter for the Advancement of Women in the Legal Profession;
  • The Law Society’s Mental Health and Wellbeing portal; and
  • legislation and rules relevant to sexual harassment in the legal profession.

 

The Society as part of its professional development program will also hold a workshop on the topic of sexual harassment in the legal workplace and workplace culture.

According to the President of the Law Society of NSW, the organisation “makes up 43% of Australia’s solicitors”. With such weight behind tackling sexual harassment in the legal profession, it is hopeful that positive changes within the legal workforce will occur where victims and witnesses are empowered to report harassment and other inappropriate behaviours.

In breaking news, the Victorian Legal Services Board has launched an online tool for lawyers to report instances of sexual harassment.  The user can elect whether to identify themselves or remain anonymous throughout the entire reporting process.  They can provide as much or as little detail as they like and control how their report progresses, including determine themselves whether they make a formal complaint.  The online tool can be found here.

In addition to the above the Victorian Legal Services Board website also contains resources and reports in relation to sexual harassment in the legal profession. It provides the following:

  • VEOHRC sexual harassment guideline for employers;
  • WorkSafe guide for employers on sexual harassment;
  • Guidance with making a complaint to VLSB+C about sexual harassment;
  • Sexual Harassment reports in the Victorian Legal Sector; and
  • Sexual harassment statement to the legal profession.

 

Solicitors having access to these resources allows for an integrated progression towards a future where sexual harassment is eradicated within the legal profession and society alike.

Our Co-Founder and Director, Danielle Snell sits on the Law Institute of Victoria’s Diversity Committee (Sexual Harassment Working Group) and is passionate about uniting the legal profession to make a real difference for women in the legal sector.

For a confidential discussion to discuss any concerns you may have and find out more about the complaints process available to those who have experienced sexual harassment and/or bullying in the workplace, please contact Danielle Snell.

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Danielle Snell

CO-FOUNDER AND MANAGING PARTNER

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Robert McGirr

CO-FOUNDER AND PARTNER

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