Forensic interview helps to identify sexual harassment in companies

A survey released in March by Equileap, an organization that advocates gender equality in the labor market, showed what women already know: most companies fail to curb sexual harassment in the workplace. The study, which analyzed data from 3,702 companies in 23 countries, found that less than half of the companies deal with sexual harassment. The way out, according to the entity, is the creation of legislation that compels companies to act against harassment.

One of the major problems is the underreporting of cases, some ways that executives have to identify and curb crime is through compliance programs and the action of so-called forensic interviewers. “These are the professionals responsible for analyzing suspected irregularities and detecting cases of sexual and moral harassment, among other behaviors, within the companies. We are often asked to investigate fraud or other conduct and we end up discovering cases of harassment ”.

Through various techniques, the forensic interviewer is able to discover the truth that many people do not know how to reveal. “Many women are ashamed of being victims of harassment and tend to think, in some way, that something in their behavior contributed to that event. They also fear being discredited if they make a complaint and, therefore, end up not reporting it ”.

The law defines acts of “embarrassing someone in order to gain sexual advantage or favor” as sexual harassment. The crime is punishable by imprisonment for one to two years. However, in many cases, it is difficult to prove sexual harassment and forensic interviewing is an indispensable tool for detecting the problem.

Due to the nature of the crime, the work of forensic interviewers is essential to combat the practice in companies. “Addressing suspicions of sexual harassment has to be done in an empathetic, respectful, comprehensive and with solid legal knowledge to understand how the case happened and how to solve it. It is necessary to have a certain sensitivity because it involves a very strong emotional set, it is necessary to be very careful with the victim ”.

How to identify
The victim commonly gives indications, even discrete, that something is wrong. “If you are attentive and look at people, you can see these signs. Whenever a woman is a victim of harassment, she struggles with all her strength not to be alone with the harasser in company environments, happy hour and other gatherings. And when he passes her, she looks disgusted, even if discreet. I have already discovered cases of sexual harassment in companies that hired me to investigate fraud for a simple expression of disgust, presented by a woman when asked about a colleague, for example ”.

Best Regards!
André Costa de Almeida, OAB/SP: 314.283 | cfi | pdpe | cpc-a | mba

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