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Harassment: Uncovering the Truth? - Tonight

Julie Etchingham reports on Harassment: Uncovering the Truth? - ITV at 7:30pm on Thursday 9th November Photo: ITV/Tonight

With stories of sexual harassment and serious assault hitting the headlines, ITVs Tonight programme investigates how widespread harassment is in our society today - and asks, if you experienced or witnessed this behaviour, would you be brave enough to speak out?

One story has trickled into larger stories and is creating a flood because women suddenly feel empowered and able to speak about thing that they previously haven’t been able to speak about.

– Kiran Daukra, Employment lawyer
1 in 4 women said they believed they might lose their job, if they complained about sexual harassment. Credit: ITV/Tonight

Earlier in the year Tonight went undercover to investigate harassment of women in public places, in this episode we question, can things be as bad - or worse - at work?

A recent Poll suggested over half of British women have experienced harassment at work, with the majority of them saying they didn’t report it to anyone. ACAS, the workplace conciliation service, told Tonight it had seen a 12% increase in enquiries about sexual discrimination, in the past year.

An exclusive poll conducted by Tonight reveals the extent of harassment in the workplace Credit: ITV/Tonight

In a new poll (by OnePoll) for Tonight, 1 in 4 women said they believed they might lose their job, if they complained about sexual harassment. Over half of young people said they feared they would not be believed, if they made a complaint.

It feels like it would be a real waste if we didn’t use this moment to achieve a real fundamental change in the way we think about sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual assault.

– Rachel Krys, End Violence Against Women
Presenter Julie Etchingham and the people's panel Credit: ITV/Tonight

Presenter Julie Etchingham brought together a 'people’s panel' to try to find out what we understand to be acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, both in the workplace and at a works party, and where we should draw the line.

Sexual harassment is very much defined by the person who is feeling harassed. So if that person feels that their dignity is being undermined or violated, if they feel that their workplace is becoming a humiliating or intimidating place because of this unwanted sexual conduct then it is their right to call this out and their right to have that issue taken seriously.

– Ben Willmott, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
Should a boss flirt? ITV Tonight's people panel discuss where to draw the line Credit: ITV/Tonight

Tonight’s new poll revealed that over half of people said a boss should never flirt with an employee and nearly three quarters of people said a company should take action if an employee felt sexually harassed at a works party.

Citizens Advice says that if you’re being harassed at work, it’s a good idea to keep diary or record of the following things:

  • date, time and location of the incidents
  • what was said or done
  • names of any witnesses
  • if there have been incidents directed at other workers
  • how the harassment made you feel, including any effects it had on your health and impact it had on your work.

Should you decide to take action with regards to any cases of harassment the Citizens Advice Bureau have experienced advisors who can help you. They also advise that you contact a trade union representative at work if there is one, or an appropriate union office.

Useful links:

Citizens Advice - Citizens Advice is a network of 316 independent charities throughout the United Kingdom that give free, confidential information and advice to assist people with money, legal, consumer and other problems.

TUC - The Trades Union Congress is a federation of trade unions in England and Wales that exists to make the working world a better place for everyone.

ACAS - Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law.

Tonight: Harassment Uncovered - read our first report on sexual harassment where the Tonight team went undercover.

  • Harassment: Uncovering the Truth? will be broadcast on ITV at 7.30pm on Thursday 9th November

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