Learning with the legal sector

Creating positive working environments without sexual harassment or gender-based violence

Collaborators 

With funding from the Scottish Government’s Workplace Equality Fund, we are working with the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre 

Deliverable 

The project will utilise peer learning to create digital learning activities and train 120 workplace advocates. The aim of the project is to create tailored resources that improve the understanding of both barriers people experience in the legal sector and ways to redress them. 

Dates 

The project will run between August 2022 and March 2023, with a possible extension to March 2024. 

How you can get involved 

We are currently looking to hear from individuals and organisations to be part of: 

  • an advisory group who will shape the programme 
  • A Scotland based pilot group to identify priority areas and test draft resources 
  • conversations about existing useful resources and how we can adapt existing materials  

If you would like to chat more about being involved in the project, please contact us via email, phone or post. 

Further information about the project  

Reports of sexual harassment in the British legal professional doubled from 2014/15 to 2018/9. And yet, the International Bar Association found that globally 74% of incidents remain unreported (PDF). 

The Law Society of Scotland noted in the 2018 Profile of the Profession (PDF) that there are many challenges including:  

  • The size and structure of the Scottish legal sector decreases anonymity for survivors 
  • Senior staff are not held accountable as there are no overarching reporting channels beyond the organisation 
  • A lack of effective internal policies for handling harassment reports 
  • Third party harassment by clients is complicated by the financial relationship and need for a ‘good’ client relationship  

The project aims to work holistically across the legal sector in Scotland. For example, with solicitors and trainees, with self-employed advocates, judges, paralegals, case workers, pro-bono legal clinics and with the many crucial people who make legal centres and firms run effectively including administrators, legal tech experts and translators. 

The project will explore a range of scenarios including people witnessing or experiencing sexual harassment or gender-based violence in the workplace, whether a physical or digital work setting, as well as in non-work settings like social media or instant messaging.  

The learning activities will build upon the SWRC’s experience delivering legal services and training about sexual harassment and a 2020 report (PDF) which summarised the challenges that survivors of gender-based violence in their home life face at work. Whether it is needing to attend appointments in work time or the lack of paid compassionate leave.