Independent report ‘Raising Their Voices’, surveying sexual harassment in Australian music industry, has been published

"People in the industry are passionate and committed, but there are significant systemic risks"

Raising Their Voices, an independent report and review of sexual harassment within the Australian music industry, has been published in full, collating the results of a survey that was contributed to by over 1,600 workers.

A summary of the report, announced last December and released today (September 1), has found what it deems to be “unacceptable levels of sexual harm, sexual harassment and systemic discrimination in the contemporary music industry in Australia”.

“People in the industry are passionate and committed, but there are significant systemic risks and cultural challenges,” the report read. “These facilitate harm and unacceptable behaviour, and mean that perpetrators are rarely held to account.”

The report then backed this claim by stating that 82 per cent of those that experienced sexual harm or harassment did not report it, and “only [three per cent] made a formal complaint” about what they had experienced. Of those that did take their issue further, 57 per cent were “dissatisfied with the outcome”.

55 per cent of participants said they had experienced sexual harassment or harm during their career, while a further 74 per cent of participants said that they had experienced various forms of bullying.

The report particularly focused on how women have been affected by these experiences. 74 per cent of women surveyed reported experiences with sexual harassment, with 40 per cent of those incidents occurring within the last five years. Furthermore, 91 per cent of women surveyed said that they had experienced “sexism from senior managers, supervisors or other leaders”.

In addition to these findings, which the report deemed “sobering”, a list of 17 recommendations have been made to improve conditions within the industry. These recommendations, per the report, “provide a blueprint for the industry
to become a global leader prioritising safety, inclusion and respect”.

“These [recommendations] require courage, commitment and dedication,” the report continued. “Sustainable change requires industry-wide cultural reform championed by its leaders. Piecemeal, ad hoc strategies will not address sexual harm, harassment and discrimination.”

It is recommended by the report that a Contemporary Music Industry Cultural Reform Council is set up, which would further develop a code of conduct, establish an “independent safe space” for people to confidentially disclose experiences, and create awareness campaigns.

Furthermore, the recommendations call upon those higher up within the industry to “acknowledge the harm” that sexual harassment has caused thus far, to “commit to cultural reform” and to undertake the proper protocol in holding those that have perpetrated harm fully accountable.

Emily Collins, the Managing Director of MusicNSW, said in a press statement that Raising Their Voices was “a critical first step”.

“We want to acknowledge the courage of those victim survivors, and everyone who
shared their stories as part of this review,” she said. Bringing this information to light [shows] not only the extent of harm that has occurred, but also [sets] out a clear path for the music industry to improve and strengthen its workplace culture for everyone.”

Deena Lynch – better known as Jaguar Jonze – has said that she and the rest of the working group assembled to oversee the review now “require commitment to change and action”.

“It has taken a lot of sacrifice and energy from survivors to establish awareness, but it can’t stop there,” she said. “Awareness is just a first step, [and] there is much more work to be done to address specific issues, bring about a cultural shift and begin to reform.”

Lynch has been at the centre of several cultural shifts in discussions of the issue within Australia, following her amplification of allegations against photographer Jack Stafford and an appearance on The Project.

The full Raising Their Voices report can be viewed and downloaded from the report’s official website.

For help, advice or more information regarding sexual harassment, assault and rape in Australia, visit the Australian Government’s Respect service or 1800RESPECT.