Socialist Party Policy on Dealing with Complaints of Sexual Harassment or Assault

The Socialist Party is committed to the struggle of the working class and all the oppressed for socialist change by overthrowing capitalism as a system, and all the injustices and inequalities that this system perpetuates. This includes sexism in all its forms. To this end, the Socialist Party is committed to ensuring women and gender non-conforming people play a full role in every aspect of our Party’s work, meetings and activities.

Sexual harassment, whether against women, men or gender non-conforming people is utterly unacceptable and will not be tolerated by the Socialist Party.

The Socialist Party will take any complaint regarding sexual harassment, abuse or assault extremely seriously. We will deal with complaints as swiftly as possible, with appropriate levels of confidentiality, and if there is wrongdoing, will take appropriate action including disciplinary action, up to and including suspension or expulsion.

What are Sexual Harassment and Assault?

Sexual harassment is defined as any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the person.

Behaviour that may constitute sexual harassment and sexual assault includes:

  • Unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature, either physical or verbal;
  • Inappropriate or suggestive remarks or verbal sexual advances;
  • Indecent comments, jokes or innuendo of a sexually suggestive nature;
  • Unwanted physical contact such as hugging, kissing or inappropriate touching,  patting, grabbing or brushing;
  • Requests for sexual favours;
  • Any discrimination or actions that create difficulties for anyone based on their sex/gender;
  • Any retaliation for sexual harassment complaints;
  • The display or circulation of sexual imagery;
  • Unwelcome digital communication of a sexually suggestive nature;
  • Physical assaults of a sexual nature such as rape;
  • Sexual battery/violence, molestation or attempts at these;
  • Intimate partner violence.

The intention of the respondent or accused is not the important factor, much more important is what they did and the effect of their actions.

Overall approach to be followed

The Socialist Party will:

  • Have a zero-tolerance approach to sexual harassment;
  • Listen to all reports or complainants of sexual harassment;
  • Ensure that our harassment policy is widely disseminated, embedded and understood throughout the Party, including with newer members;
  • Ensure that there is a procedure for reporting and investigating complaints of harassment with assigned roles and responsibilities;
  • Ensure that an appropriate degree of confidentiality is maintained;
  • Ensure that there will not be a requirement for the complainant to confront the respondent face to face; 
  • Work with relevant others to address any complaints, including appropriate statutory agencies;
  • Ensure that this policy and associated procedures are reviewed by the National Committee of the Socialist Party at least every two             years or more frequently as necessary.

Policy updated by National Committee May 2020