Fostering a Safe Retail Environment: Combating Work-Related Gendered Violence

In recent times, there has been a growing recognition of the prevalence of work-related gendered violence, particularly in high-risk industries. Among these, the retail industry stands out as one where the incidence of such violence is a concern. This article sheds light on a strategic approach WorkSafe Victoria are using to tackle this issue and offers key measures every retailer should adopt to prevent and respond to work-related gendered violence.

A Holistic Framework

In the dynamic retail landscape, prioritising worker wellbeing is crucial. The strategic approach aims to reduce harm and improve outcomes, especially for those disproportionately affected by work-related gendered violence and harassment.

The overarching goals centre on creating a positive, mentally healthy workplace to prevent and address mental injury, provide support, and enhance capability. This approach seeks to make a meaningful impact by aligning with industry priorities and fostering a safe, respectful, and supportive retail environment.

Practical Guidance

Work-related gendered violence, particularly in the retail industry, demands proactive measures to ensure a safe and inclusive workplace. Here are key practical measures every retailer should have in place:

  1. Awareness, Education, and Training:
    • Conduct comprehensive awareness campaigns to educate employees about the signs, impacts, and prevention of work-related gendered violence.
    • Provide tailored training programs to equip workers with the knowledge and skills to identify and address instances of gendered violence.
  1. Building Evidence Base:
    • Understand the specific issues your team faces.
    • Regularly check and analyse data to spot problems.
    • Make changes and create plans based on what the data tells you.
  1. Fostering Organisational Change:
    • Develop policies against gendered violence.
    • Welcome diversity and make everyone feel valued.
    • Foster a culture where everyone is treated with respect.
  1. Supporting Innovation:
    • Embrace innovative solutions and technology to enhance reporting mechanisms and provide immediate support to victims. Examples include online reporting systems where employees can securely report incidents, share concerns, or seek assistance online.
    • Explore new approaches, such as the use of artificial intelligence, to detect and prevent gendered violence. Chatbots provide immediate support or resources to employees facing harassment.
  1. Compliance and Reinforcement:
    • Regularly audit policies to ensure compliance with evolving standards and regulations.
    • Reinforce a culture of zero tolerance through continuous communication, training, and reinforcement programs.

By aligning with broader industry priorities, we can strive to contribute to a retail sector that prioritises the wellbeing of its workforce and sets new standards for positive workplace environments.

Guidance Material

Below are some examples of information regarding work related gendered violence.

WorkSafe Victoria – Work related gender violence

Safe Work Australia – Sexual and gender-based harassment



The material within this update is provided for general information and educational purposes in summary form on topics that are current when it is first published. The content does not constitute legal advice or recommendations and should not be relied upon as such.




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