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Sexual Harassment Prevention

How Can Government Agencies Create a Zero-Tolerance Culture Toward Sexual Harassment?

February 19, 2024

In an era where the call for justice and safety within the workplace grows louder, government agencies must lead by example. 

Despite ongoing efforts, the shadow of sexual harassment still looms large in many corners of the professional world. It’s a stark reality that demands attention and decisive action.  

Here, we will explore the steps that agencies can take to foster a zero-tolerance culture against harassment. We’ll also discuss sexual harassment and sexual assault prevention training for government employees as a key step in making the workplace more secure. 

employees smiling after sexual assault prevention training for government

How Does Sexual Harassment Currently Affect Government Agencies?

Sexual harassment within government agencies is a pressing issue that impacts the people involved and the atmosphere of the whole organization. 

The 2021 Merit Principles Survey reveals a concerning statistic: 12.6% of employees in federal workplaces reported experiencing one or more of 12 types of sexual harassment over the previous two years.  

Sexual assault and harassment deeply hurt the victims, leaving lasting emotional and psychological scars, and also cause a ripple effect that undermines trust, safety, and morale among all employees.  

A culture that allows such behaviors to go unchecked can stifle open communication, decrease job satisfaction, and hinder the effectiveness of government operations. Through understanding, empathy, and decisive action, government agencies can build a more inclusive and supportive workplace for all employees. 

Actionable Steps to Create a Zero-Tolerance Culture in Government Agencies

Education and Training About Sexual Harassment Prevention 

Training and programs should get government employees talking about important issues like how to give and get consent, how power affects relationships, and how to step in safely if you see someone being harassed. 

Using real-life scenarios and group activities can make ideas stick and get everyone ready to help stop harassment before it starts. 

Encouraging Reporting 

Government agencies should also create a supportive reporting environment that guarantees confidentiality and offers multiple reporting channels, including formal and informal ones. 

The process should always be supportive of the person reporting, and it should be as stress-free as possible to minimize trauma. 

Support Systems 

Helping someone who’s been harassed goes beyond dealing with the immediate situation. It includes ongoing support for the victim to cope with the emotional, physical, and legal challenges they might face. 

The following are some common support systems: 

– Counseling: Offers a safe space for individuals to talk about their experiences and work through the emotional impact with a professional. 

– Legal Advice: Provides guidance on rights and options to help victims navigate the legal steps they want to take. 

– Peer Support Groups: Brings together people who have had similar experiences to share their stories and support each other in a safe and understanding environment.

Regular Review and Update of Policies 

The rules about what’s acceptable behavior at work and what’s not can change as society changes. Therefore, government agencies must regularly check that their policies are up to date and reflect what’s currently considered best practice. 

Listening to what employees think about these policies can also help make them better. 

Accountability and Transparency 

Everyone, regardless of their job title, should be held to the same standards. When cases of harassment are handled, doing so in a way that’s open and fair (while still protecting privacy) can build trust in the system and discourage others from harassing behavior.

people in a conference room during sexual assault prevention training for government

Create a Better Federal Workplace with Our Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Prevention Training for Government

Contact Catharsis Productions and book our programs tailored for military and government personnel, where we empower people to challenge harmful beliefs and intervene to protect others. Call us today to learn more! 

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