Today Abigail stood in support of an amendment tabled by Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge. This amendment would ensure that police officers accused of sexual violence or harassment would not be promoted or appointed to senior positions and ensure that the NSW Police Force begins to seriously tackle the epidemic of sexual violence within it's ranks.
Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (16:41:24): I support the amendment put forward by my colleague Mr David Shoebridge. Sexual assault and harassment is not just our problem here in this place; it is a society-wide problem that we have been talking about now for some time. Like so many other pressing social issues, it is something that we often talk about but very rarely act on. This is a really great opportunity to show some of the leadership regarding zero tolerance towards sexual assault and harassment that the Broderick report talked about. It is an opportunity for us to say that of course we would not expect people who have been found to have engaged in sexual harassment or sexual misconduct within the Police Force to be promoted. I do not see why that is such a big step for this Parliament to take.
We know that in that when women in particular experience sexual assault and harassment all sorts of different careers and industries the cascading effects of the incident have a marked impact on their lives, their careers and their mental and physical health. Yet the statistics show that in those circumstances, the men in particular continue on. We see this in politics. We see it in sport. We see it all over the place. These men may be out of favour for a couple of years with the media not talking to them, but then before we know it they are back. Their career is back, their standing in the community is back, everyone forgives them and it is all over. Meanwhile, the victims of sexual assault and harassment continue on with that impact felt throughout their life. Here is a great opportunity for us to draw the line and say that we are listening to the experience of these women police officers. We are listening to the people in the Police Force who are telling us that this is holding women back from their participation in the force and from advancing and being promoted. People who are found to have engaged in sexual harassment or sexual misconduct do not deserve to be promoted in our Police Force. I support this amendment.