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MEAA looks to protect theatre workers from sexual harassment

MEAA looks to protect theatre workers from sexual harassment
January 8, 2018

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), the union for performers and other theatre workers, expects that 2018 will prove to be a watershed year for the treatment of sexual harassment and bullying in live theatre.

A new collaborative approach proposed by MEAA and adopted by state theatre companies shortly before Christmas could pave the way for more effective policies to deal with sexual harassment, assault and bullying across the entire live theatre sector, according to MEAA’s Equity Director Zoe Angus.

In the coming weeks, MEAA will be part of a national forum involving major state theatre companies and freelance artists that is aiming to drive real change and lasting solutions in live theatre.

Angus said a goal of the forum will be an agreed set of policies and procedures to deal with allegations of sexual harassment, assault and bullying.

The collaboration with theatre companies follows a survey by MEAA of 1124 people working in theatre which found 40% had experienced sexual harassment and 14% had been sexually assaulted.

The survey also revealed that 53% of victims and said they had never reported sexual harassment, criminal misconduct or bullying for reasons ranging from worries about professional repercussions, a belief that they did not think anything could be done, fears that reporting would worsen the situation, or hope that it would resolve itself.

It also found that 47% of those who did make a report felt the situation was not handled well and in some cases, it even got worse.

Angus stated “fear of reprisals or that making a complaint will damage their careers has in the past discouraged victims from formally complaining about sexual harassment or bullying.

“In other cases, performers have not been made aware of how to make a complaint, or complaints have resulted in no action.

“The state theatre companies have acknowledged these problems and we welcome their acceptance of our offer to work collaboratively towards solutions.

“The outcomes of this work will potentially be a template for the entire live theatre sector, including independent and musical theatre.”

The full survey of theatre workers’ experiences of sexual harassment, assault and bullying is available on the MEAA website at www.meaa.org

Image of Zoe Angus courtesy of MEAA.

18th December 2017 - MEAA SURVEY SHOWS 14% OF AUSTRALIAN STAGE INDUSTRY WORKERS HAVE BEEN SEXUALLY ASSAULTED 

17th December 2017 - AUSTRALIAN MAJOR PERFORMING ARTS GROUP CONDEMNS HARASSMENT AND BULLYING 

1st December 2017 - LIVE PERFORMANCE AUSTRALIA PRESENT 2017 CENTENARY AWARDS

3rd November 2017 - AUSTRALIA’S STATE THEATRE COMPANIES CONDEMN SEXUAL HARASSMENT 

5th October 2017 - LIVE PERFORMANCE INDUSTRY GENERATES $1.43 BILLION REVENUE AND 18.78 MILLION ATTENDANCES 

18th October 2016 - RESEARCH REVEALS ALARMING FINDINGS ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH OF AUSTRALIAN ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY WORKERS

9th June 2016 - ABS ECONOMIC ACTIVITY SURVEY SHOWS OVER 200,000 EMPLOYED IN ‘ARTS AND RECREATION SERVICES’

13th May 2016 - CAST CALLS ON FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO REINSTATE AUSTRALIA COUNCIL FUNDS 

9th February 2016 - UNION ACCUSES SYDNEY THEATRE COMPANY MANAGEMENT OF ‘IGNORING STAFF SAFETY’ 


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