FEMALE paramedics in central Victorian have suffered bullying, sexual harassment and gender discrimination along with those around the state, union representatives say.
Bendigo-based Ambulance Employees Australia Victoria secretary Brett Adie said several paramedics in the Loddon Mallee had contacted him about active cases of bullying.
It comes after Ambulance Victoria requested an independent review of claims of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and bullying of women within the organisation.
Mr Adie said Ambulance Victoria's culture around such allegations was one of cover up, inadequate investigation, and protecting the people against whom complaints have been made.
He said bullying, sexual harassment and gender discrimination meant some Ambulance Victoria staff were in fear of going to work. He said such experiences at work affected the rest of staff's lives.
Mr Adie said the numbers he knew might not even tell the full story of bullying and sexual harassment in central Victoria.
He said people had already contacted him to say they want to tell their story, since the review was announced on Tuesday.
"There's not going to be a region that's immune to this, every region will be affected by it," Mr Adie said.
"I'm not saying Bendigo is any worse than any other region, but we certainly have heard examples of [this] behaviour.
"We've advocated for members regarding those cases."
The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission will conduct the independent review into Ambulance Victoria, requested by AV chief executive Tony Walker and board chair Ken Lay.
Mr Walker confirmed four cases of sexual harassment were already under investigation.
He said in a statement that he was distressed and disappointed to read reports of bullying, harassment and discrimination of women in his organisation.
"We want to be very clear that these behaviours and actions have no place in the Ambulance Victoria I lead. They will simply not be tolerated," he said.
"In recent years, we have worked hard with various external organisations to address some deep cultural challenges. It is distressing to hear that despite all this work, there are still colleagues who don't feel safe or respected.
"Today this stops. I want to thank those who have bravely spoken out for their courage. I ask that they continue to do so and know they will be supported."
- With AAP
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