Safe space online portal to target legal environment harassment

30 June, 2023

Legal Practice Board launches new portal to report harassment and inappropriate behaviour in the legal profession. The Board has a statutory responsibility for the regulation of all Western Australian legal practitioners.

Attorney General John Quigley has welcomed the launch of a new online portal to report harassment and inappropriate behaviour in legal workplaces.
Speak Safely was launched by the Legal Practice Board of Western Australia today.
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 even anonymously. This can be either informal reports or formal complaints.
The Board has numerous options available when receiving reports and taking further action, depending on the level of detail provided, the wishes of the reporter, and the outcome of the Board’s assessment.
The Board may be obliged to inform other authorities depending on the nature and severity of a report.
Boards in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, and South Australia have already introduced a similar system and are seeing positive results.
“Harassment and inappropriate behaviour – including sexual harassment – should not be tolerated in any workplace, including legal workplaces", Attorney General John Quigley 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.
“Harassment can also seriously affect the mental health, sense of security, work satisfaction and productivity of employees, clients, and others.
“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." 

“Sexual harassment has no place in our society or in the legal profession", Legal Practice Board Chair, John Syminton said.
“The Legal Practice Board is committed to ensuring that everyone in the legal profession feels safe and is supported in their workplace.
“We want to ensure that the profession has in place policies and procedures to enable not only a safe working environment, but one that promotes public trust in the legal profession in Western Australia.”