Does Australia Have a Problem with Police Abuse?



Most citizens respect and trust the police force to protect them should they become victims of robberies, muggings or other crimes. Officers are brave are brave and heroic.

However, there’s also a pressing issue that is not often discussed in polite society. A question was raised by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse final report.

Is there also abuse in the police force? Well, the Royal Commission highlighted allegations of sexual abuse in the Australian Defence Force (ADF). And here, we look at several claims of abuse among police in Australia.

Victoria Police Sexual Misconduct

In December 2015, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission released a report revealing misconduct among Victoria police. The commission investigated 184 complaints filed against officers for sexual misconduct, including several rape cases.

Assistant Police Commissioner Luke Cornelius announced that the workforce will try and reduce gender discrimination by striving for a 50-percent female recruit rate, and medical or fitness requirements will be reviewed for their discrimination against women.

Some of the sexual harassment victims whose careers were greatly disturbed in the workforce also allegedly will receive back pay and refunded leave allocations, but almost two years after the Redress and Restorative Scheme was promised, it has yet to be launched.

Turning A Blind Eye To Homophobic Bullying

An assistant commissioner at the time of the event, New South Wales Police Commissioner Mick Fuller dismissed the needs to investigate officers’ claims of homophobia after four were targeting for drug testing because of their sexuality.

The complaining officers were accused of having “loose morals and promiscuity,” because they attended a particular gay venue, which the parties denied and said were false accusations.

Superintendent Simon Hardman ordered the drug test, and he later stated the officers’ promiscuous behaviours at a gay venue warranted the test, an argument thought to have malicious intent.

While documentation confirmed the complaint originated within the NSW Police, the police force fought hard to keep the superintendent’s identity a secret.

Cost of Filing A Complaint

Even women on the police working in the NSW Police are not safe from sexual harassment and innuendos in the workplace. It doesn’t matter that she’s wearing a badge, sexual harassment still follows her.

NSW superintendents reportedly referred to sexual assault victims as “sluts” as when ordering police to take victims’ statements. In the workplace culture, female employees reporting sexual harassment saw their reports poorly handled, with the unstated goal of covering for the responsible officers.

George Torres, a 20-year veteran of the NSW police force, was dismissed after he referred to sexual harassment at work as “workplace banter.” He was convinced that he did nothing wrong, and escalated his case to the Industrial Relations Commission.

The committee took Torres’ side and ran his legal case for him. The workplace culture was clearly reflected by the case, and plenty of similar that have been reported since.