The research project UISH examines understandings of sexual harassment from the perspectives of the harassed, bystanders and harassers, and how these understandings shape interventions against sexual harassment within the police.

The research project Understanding and Intervening against Sexual Harassment at work (UISH) is a Nordic initiative that aims to increase theoretical and empirical knowledge on sexual harassment (SH) through academic and practitioner-based efforts with working life partners, specifically within the police in Norway, Sweden and Iceland.

Despite increasing research on SH, there are specific knowledge gaps within the field remain. These gaps are related to intersectional dimensions of SH and marginalised groups’ particular vulnerability to SH, and the role of bystanders and perpetrators. Drawing on national and international research efforts on SH, organisational culture, the police and gender and intersecting inequalities, UISH yields a unique mixed-methods investigation into the behaviour and incentives of perpetrators and bystanders, as well the experiences of the harassed, and how to successfully prevent and intervene against SH.

The first Work Package based in Norway will empirically test a previously developed SH intervention that includes a focus on intersectionality and the police setting. The intervention targets bystanders’ (employees, managers, union and safety representatives) understandings of SH and their behaviour in SH situations. The second Work Package based in Iceland develops an “in-group forum” initiative that aims to raise awareness through training and to empower participants to work collaboratively to progress change within in the work environment.

The third Work Package which is conducted by researchers Silje Lundgren and Malin Wieslander at Linköping University focuses on different understanding of sexual harassment how this affects the conditions for different groups in the organisation (employees, managers, trainees, union representatives) to intervene in and report cases of sexual harassment. The point of departure is that SH between colleagues in an organisation not necessarily is considered a problem, despite available testimonies and existing official and internal statistics on SH prevalence. In the case of the police, a sexualised jargon and dark humour is often considered crucial to a professional identity as a police officer, and the profession ‘the hard way’.

The research project is funded by Nordforsk and carried out during the period 2023-2027. Here you can find more information about the project. (Link to NordForsk).