The NT Anti-Discrimination Commission has embarked on a campaign to ensure that travellers to the Northern Territory are aware of their rights regarding sexual harassment.
Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Sally Sievers said that the Anti-Discrimination Commission was aware of recent instances where young female travellers in private accommodation around Darwin or undertaking work in remote and rural areas have been subject to sexual harassment and that it was vital that they knew their rights for their own safety.
“We are genuinely concerned that during the Dry Season many backpackers travel to the Northern Territory and as young people, on limited budgets and visas, they may be vulnerable and find themselves in dangerous situations” Ms Sievers said.
“These travellers are often afraid to speak up and may not be aware that there are laws to protect them and that they do not need to be Australian to make a complaint.”
Sexual Harassment is unlawful under the Anti-Discrimination Act, the Anti-Discrimination Commission can:
- provide information about everyone’s rights under the Act,
- responds to confidential enquiries, and
- accepts complaints from all members of the community.
In an effort to raise awareness amongst the backpacker community Anti-Discrimination Commission staff have visited accommodation venues and popular hotels in Darwin to drop off posters and brochures advising people of their rights.
“The message is simple; sexual harassment is unlawful in the Northern Territory.
“Language is no barrier either, the Anti-Discrimination Commission will provide an interpreter and if necessary translate a written complaint from another language into English” she said.
Under the Anti-Discrimination Act sexual harassment need not only relate to work place incidents but also covers accommodation including houses or flats, and the provision of goods, services and facilities.
Potential employers, those offering accommodation, goods and services also should be aware that the same legal obligations apply to backpackers as they do to others.
Ms Sievers urged all Territorians to be aware of situations which could place travellers in danger and to take bystander action if they were aware of incidents of sexual harassment.
“The ability to work and stay in a safe environment, free from sexual harassment, is a basic human right,” Ms Sievers said.
“If you, or someone you know, has been sexually harassed please call the Anti-Discrimination Commission for free confidential information 1800 813 846.”