The Silence Must End: WLASA Response to Sexual Harassment Review

The Silence Must End: WLASA Response to Sexual Harassment Review

The findings of the Equal Opportunity Commission’s Review on Harassment in the South Australian Legal Profession are a stark indictment.
The Review confirmed what many of us already knew. Sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying are embedded in the culture of our profession, and systemic drivers continue to perpetuate it.
It is incumbent on all members of the profession to take responsibility for meaningful cultural change.
The significant number of responses to the Commission, in such a short timeframe, is indicative of the widespread nature of this problem. This cannot be ignored and warrants immediate action.
The WLASA will continue to engage at all levels of the profession to eradicate harassment and is available to provide support to our members.
We will be undertaking a detailed review of the Commission’s Report, together with the Review into Sexual Harassment in Victorian Courts (released 19 April 2021) and will report on our action plan to address the recommendations.
We are grateful for and admire the courage shown by those affected by harassment who shared their experiences with the Commission. Let this be the end to the silence.

Support Resources

We understand that this may be a challenging time for many members of our profession. WLASA is here to support our members – please reach out to us or the WLASA Support Person (details below) so we may assist.

WLASA Support Person

Bullying and harassment continues to be a pervasive issue in our profession, and while we may not all have experienced it, we likely know someone that has been subject to it.  An objective of the WLASA is to support our members and while the WLASA recognises that it cannot provide the necessary therapeutic and expert support needed for a member who may be subject to bullying or harassment, we want to ensure that we is able to provide further assistance to our members in this area.  This is why we have announced the appointment of Ruth Beach as the inaugural WLASA Support Person.

Ruth’s role will be to act as a contact for any member who may want to discuss bullying or harassment issues, but the support will not extend to counselling or legal advice.

The WLASA Support Person will be supported by the WLASA with the provision of numbers for LawCare, BarCare, counsellors or psychologists and names of law firms that could assist the member if they wish to take the issue further.  The WLASA Support Person will not be authorised to suggest that a claim is or is not made and again, would not provide any legal advice, but will rather act sounding board for any WLASA members that chose to contact her.  The WLASA Support Person will not be asked by the WLASA Committee to provide the names of any persons that have contacted her, but will be required to report on volume of calls and to raise any issue that she considers the WLASA Committee may need to address, for example, a systemic issue.

Any member can contact Ruth directly for a confidential (and anonymous if wished) discussion by calling 0423738827 or by sending an email to

If the WLASA Support Person feels as though the member is in position of harm, they are to immediately contact the WLASA President, who then may contact the SABar President, The Law Society of SA President or another entity as the WLASA President determines.

Crisis Services

If you are in immediate need of support, please be aware of the following resources:

• Lifeline – 131 114 (24 hours, personal crisis service)
• 1800Respect – 1800 737 732 (sexual violence service)
• Yarrow Place – 1800 817 421 (rape and sexual assault service)
• QLife – 1800 184 527 (LGBTQI service)
• BeyondBlue – 1300 224 636 (depression, anxiety and suicide prevention service)