‘I have suffered sexual harassment in the workplace’, says women’s minister Victoria Atkins

Posted On: 
17th January 2020

Women's minister Victoria Atkins has revealed that she has suffered sexual harassment in the workplace.

Victoria Atkins said she had "a great deal of empathy and sympathy" with victims of sexual harassment

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She spoke out she launched a new Government consultation seeking the views of victims on what should be done to tackle the problem.

Appearing on BBC Breakfast on Friday, Ms Atkins suggested that it had happened to her on more than one occasion.

She said: "I have suffered sexual harassment. I’m not going to be drawn on the details because I’m not going to be defined by the grubby behaviour of the men that behaved like that towards me.

“I’ve worked in many workplaces and I suspect like many people I have seen a range of behaviours.

“Some were the sorts of behaviours you cannot quite brush off but take as part of growing up and adult life. But some behaviours that are also quite uncomfortable and did upset me.”

Ms Atkins said she hoped that the “anonymous” and “confidential” survey would help sufferers “share their stories in a way that they feel safe”. 

The minister added: “I’m coming at this with a great deal of empathy and sympathy for people across the country who have suffered this.”

On Friday, the Government announced a new survey giving victims of sexual harassment a chance to shape future policy. 

Surveys will be sent to over 12,000 people across the UK, asking them about their experiences of sexual harassment inside and outside the workplace.

The consultation was welcomed by many unions and equality charities, including the Fawcett Society and the Trade Unions Congress.

It comes after new guidelines on tackling sexual harassment in the workplace and protecting employees was pubished by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on Wednesday.