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“It Must Stop!” Says NZ Law Society President Over Sex Abuse in the Law Profession

The Law Society has reacted to the sexual harassment scandal embroiling Russell McVeagh and the wider profession by announcing a survey of the profession to determine the extent of the problem, as well as beefing up the Society’s reporting and response capability.

In a press release issued today, President Kathryn Beck said the Society wanted to work in an “innovative and practical” manner to stop the problem. “It must stop,” she said.

Included in the proposed moves are the setting up of a working group to examine whether the regulatory framework and network to handle such complaints, usually highly sensitive and requiring considerable resolve on the part of the complainants, was satisfactory.

“We must focus on the culture and underlying assumptions which exist in some law firms and legal workplaces. As with the Gender Equality Charter, the change has to come from inside, driven and assisted from outside,” she said.

The Law Society has been criticised for not acting firmly enough, receiving criticism for its “vanilla wording” in an article on The Spinoff by Linda Clark.

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