3 Aug 2020

Calls for independent complaints body for Fire & Emergency

From Nine To Noon, 9:08 am on 3 August 2020
Fire and Emergency NZ.

Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

18 months after a scathing review of Fire and Emergency found widespread bullying and harassment, three current and former volunteer firefighters who have made complaints of sexual assault, harassment and bullying say nothing has changed,  and are calling for an independent complaints body to be established.

In January last year an independent report by Judge Coral Shaw found bullying and harassment were endemic in all Fire and Emergency workplaces throughout the country,  and at every level of the organisation. A year and half on - FENZ has developed a draft policy to address bullying, harassment and victimisation, and an interim complaints process is being administered by the newly established Behavior and Conduct Office.

A new confidential online forum has been established by a group of complainants who've experienced sexual abuse, harassment and bullying within FENZ. They say they're frustrated by the lack change and want an independent body to deal with complaints, similar to the Independent Police Conduct Authority.

Lynn Freeman talks with three members of the group and the Chief Executive of FENZ, Rhys Jones, who this morning released updated figures on sexual harassment complaints.