Respect in Research Project

Respect in Research Project

This project aims to support health and medical research organisations to actively promote gender equality and effectively prevent and respond to sexual harassment in the health and medical research sector.

This project is a collaboration between Women in Science Parkville Precinct (WiSPP) and and is supported by the Victorian Government.

Our vision is to support health and medical research organisations (HMROs) to actively promote gender equality by eliminating gendered and sexual harassment and victimisation and creating safer and more respectful workplaces. 

What is the Purpose of the Respect in Research Project?

The Australian Human Rights Commissioner’s Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment National Inquiry Report[1] was a response to MeToo and the recognition around the globe that every sector and every organisation needs to confront sexual harassment. Research shows high rates of sexual harassment in the academic workplace.[2]

This project is in response to the Report’s recommendation that key industry groups collaborate to address sexual harassment. The Report specifically highlighted the need for industry- targeted, easy-to-use tools and resources that are clear, practical, victim-centred, and readily accessible

What are we going to do?

  1. Provide evidence-based and experience-based recommendations and practical advice on preventing and responding to sexual harassment in the Health and Medical Research sector.
  2. Build momentum and shift culture regarding prevention and responding to sexual harassment through the development of a Community of Practice, and through listening to and empowering individuals.
  3. Develop guidance for sustained and ongoing prevention and response to sexual harassment through listening to, incorporating the perspectives of, responding to the needs of and empowering individuals at all levels of the system (leaders and grassroots) in the process.

How will we achieve these goals?

We will:

  • Establish sector-specific best practice recommendations for preventing and responding to sexual harassment.
  • Embed best practice principles across HMROs which actively prevent and respond to sexual harassment.  We will ask HMROs’ leadership to take ownership and accountability, and to authentically use an intersectional lens and victim-centered approach, aimed at ensuring employee’s trust and safety.  
  • Sustain dialogue and increase the visibility and confidence of the sector in discussing and addressing sexual harassment. We will ttarget the capacity of managers, and the empowerment of employees in discussing sexual harassment.  

The RESPECT IN RESEARCH Partnership

Respect in Research is a collaboration between WiSPP and AAMRI and is supported by the Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions.

The WiSPP-AAMRI collaboration on this project grew from a shared priority to promote safe workplaces in the health and medical research sector.

You can find more information about WiSPP and their work here

How will we deliver the Respect in Research Project?

Project leaders will consult in an inclusive and safe way and both the process and outcomes of the project will be trauma informed.

We will give those with intersectional risks a voice in this project and research and recommendations will be viewed through an intersectional lens.

The first stage of the Project Timeline

 PHASE 1 (April 2022– August 2022):

Sector Consultations – we will collect information around key risk factors and solutions from employees, students, experts and leaders.

PHASE 2 (September 2022 – March 2023):

We will release Exposure drafts of our Recommendations, undertake further consultations, and finalise our Recommendations Report and Website toolkit.

The TOOLKIT will be launched on – International Women’s Day March 2023.    

The sector partners, community of practice, and leadership will continually review what emerges from the first Stage of the Project. Outcomes will inform our on-going objective to eliminate gendered and sexual harassment in the sector and new priorities for 2023 and beyond.


[1] Respect@Work: National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces 2020.

[2]National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2018). Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/24994.

National Students Safety Survey, Universities Australia, March 2022. Australian Human Rights Commission. (2017). Change the course: National report on sexual assault and sexual harassment at Australian universities. Sydney, NSW: Australian Human Rights Commission.