Nearly one in five people working in Britain’s Parliament were sexually harassed or witnessed inappropriate behavior in the past year, said a report commissioned after a series of sex scandals at Westminster.
The report, published on Thursday, called for a new complaints procedure along with radical change of a culture that can deter some from challenging bosses and suggested forms of punishment for those found guilty of harassing their staff.
”This is a big day for parliament and our politics,“ said Andrea Leadsom, leader of the House of Commons lower house of parliament. “This is a major step in bringing about the culture change that parliament needs.”
A new survey shows that half of British women and a fifth of men have been sexually harassed at work or a place of study.
Last year, the UK parliament became one of several institutions to become embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal after abuse allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein prompted women and men to share stories about improper behavior.
British authorities in Parliament failed to deal with a sexual assault allegation made by a woman working for a lawmaker.
Two ministers lost their posts while others in both the governing Conservatives and opposition Labor Party were investigated over allegations of inappropriate behavior, prompting calls for an end to a “locker room” culture.
The report said 39 percent of the 1,377 responses described experience of non-sexual harassment or bullying in the last year, while 19 percent reported “experience of sexual harassment, including witnessing sexually inappropriate behavior”. Women reported twice as much as men.