Nicki Lewis
Nicki Lewis

Former Victoria police constable speaks out about homophobic and sexist bullying on the job.

The Victoria Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) have conducted a landmark inquiry into bullying and harassment taking place within the Victoria Police.

The review was announced by former chief commissioner Ken Lay in 2015. VEOHRC surveyed 5,000 current and former police about sexual harassment and bullying on the force. 150 interviews were also conducted.

One woman, former police constable Nicki Lewis publicly discussed the torment and threats she suffered while on the force.  Lewis worked on the force for 14 years but was finally forced to leave the job after bullying and threats of violence escalated.

The main instigator, another woman, reportedly told others that Lewis “had four-five sexual partners on the go” and that she “potentially had STDs” and would refuse to touch anything Lewis had touched because “she didn’t know what she would catch.”

The same woman is also reported to have offered to another person to “taser, baton, or shoot” Ms. Lewis.

Lewis said that when she brought the issue to a male colleague’s attention, he dismissed her complains. She said, “When I talked about this with a male colleague he said, ‘oh, that other lesbian. He minimised what was happening by treating it like it was just some ‘lesbian drama’.”

She went on to add, “that sort of homophobic attitude is common.”

Now on a disability pension, Ms. Lewis is awaiting the finalistation of her case. She says, “I did live for the job. So to be stripped of what is most important to you has been devastating. It’s really hard to set up a new life. I’ve lost everything as a consequence of this workplace bullying.”