One in five at Westminster experienced sexual harassment, new report shows

One in five at Westminster experienced sexual harassment, new report shows

A parliament-wide survey on sexual harassment has been published

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Almost a fifth of people working at Westminster experienced or witnessed sexual harassment or inappropriate behaviour in the last 12 months, according to a survey.

The parliament-wide survey, which was initially obtained by the Independent website, has now been published.

A survey of 1,377 parliamentary workers found that almost one in five (19%) said they had experienced or witnessed sexual harassment or inappropriate behaviour over the past year - with twice as many female as male complainants.

Thirty nine percent of respondents reported experience of non-sexual harassment or bullying over the same period, including 45% of women and 35% of men.

The report has been published alongside the recommendations of a cross-party working group which has examined the problems faced by politicians, aides and parliamentary staff.

Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom, who chairs the working group, has insisted MPs found to have bullied or abused staff will face "real sanctions" under a new grievance procedure.

Punishments could include being suspended from Parliament and constituents already have the power to effectively sack their MP in some circumstances using recall powers.

But others close to the group have expressed concerns its report will not go far enough to tackle the problem.

A source told The Independent: "You have a situation where 19%, almost a fifth of people, complaining that they have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment or inappropriate sexual behaviour here, versus the fact that the present respect policy has never had a complaint about sexual harassment."

A spokesman for the Commons Leader's office said: "We don't comment on leaked reports."