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21st Oct 2021

70% of employees in arts industry experience “harmful behaviour”

Ellen Fitzpatrick

Women were more affected than men.

According to a new report, there has been “harmful behaviour” across every sector of the arts in Ireland.

‘Speak Up: A Call for Change’ was commissioned by the Irish Theatre Institute seeing 1,300 people take part.

The report found that 70% of those surveyed had experienced some form of harmful behaviour, with 53% witnessing it, RTÉ reports.

With the majority of the incidents reported taking place in the workplace, the data also showed that the majority of perpetrators were men, at 67%, and 42% of the incidents were reported by women.

Those who dealt with these experiences were far more likely to be women than men and the data saw that women were three-and-a-half times more likely to experience sexual harassment than men.

They were also twice more likely to experience sexual assault, with freelancers also more likely to face harmful workplace experiences.

As well as this, the majority of those accused of these behaviours are reported to hold positions of authority and those surveyed said that there was no support available to them and when there was, it was insufficient.

The report was commissioned for the ITI’s arts sector Speak Up Dignity in the Workplace initiative which has been supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, the Arts Council and the Irish theatre sector.

Minister for Arts Catherine Martin has spoken about the findings, saying she was distressed to discover the extent of the problem in this industry and wanted to ensure that all voices were heard.

She added that she will be working with and funding the Irish Theatre Institute and other agencies to ensure changes are made and safe working environments are implemented.

The Irish Theatre Institute also said that this is a starting point and they will be working to overhaul workplace conduct across Ireland’s art sector.