A survey on unwanted sexual attention showed that 904 employees in the Norwegian police experienced sexual harassment in the past year.
“That is 904 people too many. We have zero-tolerance for sexual harassment in the police department.
“The police force must be a good and safe workplace for everyone, and this survey shows that we are not,” police chief Benedicte Bjørnland noted in a press release.
The 904 employees correspond to 6.6% of all survey respondents.
Bjørnlan commissioned the survey this autumn in consultation with union representatives, after a study revealed a negative work culture in the police.
Among other things, stories emerged about the abuse of position, where some members of the police requested sexual acts in exchange for favorable duties, shifts, or good references.
Forced into committing sexual acts
The new work environment survey confirmed the autumn findings.
“The most serious thing I see is that ten people in the police department have been forced into sexual acts by a colleague during 2020. It hurts to receive such findings…” Bjørnland said.
“We do not know who these people are, given the confidentiality of the survey, but I urge them to report the abuse,” the police director said.
According to the Norwegian Police Directorate, two out of three cases of sexual harassment in the police are isolated incidents, while a third of the harassment cases have lasted for some time.
Women are more prone to unwanted attention than men.
Women under 40 are particularly vulnerable, and in this group, 13% have experienced one or more cases of unwanted sexual attention.
In 71% of the cases, a colleague was responsible for the unwanted behavior, and in 28% of the cases, it was a superior.
Women are sexually harassed by men more often, while men are sexually harassed by both sexes.
Professor Dag Ellingsen at the Police Academy and professor Ulla-Britt Lilleaas at the Center for Interdisciplinary Gender Research were behind the initial research project presented in October.
Their report identified a number of problematic issues.
Among other things, information emerged about “fuck-Thursday”, where instructors were said to have sex with female students.
In the new survey presented on Friday, 6% of students answered “yes” to whether they received unwanted sexual attention.
The proportion increased to 11% (103 people) when one includes those who experienced specific behaviors defined as unwanted sexual attention.
“When 11% of students report sexual harassment, it is serious. Most cases occur from fellow students, a minority of the incidents involve a parent, practice supervisor, teacher, or instructor. Still, this worries us the most,” the police director concluded.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today