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Speaker says sexual assaults in Parliament were rape and offenders may still be working there

Sexual assaults revealed in an independent workplace review of Parliament are rape in the eyes of Speaker of the House Trevor Mallard, and the offender or offenders may still be working there.

Three cases of serious sexual assault came out in an independent review yesterday which looked into bullying and harassment in Parliament.

Mr Mallard told TVNZ1's Breakfast today it was clear from the report the three assaults were in the serious category.

"We can interpret any sexual assault as being serious, but three appear to be in the rape category," he said. "My view is that any serious sexual assault, man on woman, is rape."

It is unclear whether the offender or offenders were staff or MPs as the review was based on people coming forward confidentially.

The victims are being supported and encouraged to seek help, but nothing they said would be passed on by the reviewer Debbie Francis.

Breakfast host John Campbell asked Mr Mallard if that means there's a chance the offender or offenders are still in Parliament, and he simply replied "yes".

Campbell then said it was "entirely unsatisfactory", to which Mr Mallard said, "It is, and that's why each of the party leaders and all the CEOs have made it absolutely clear to staff that a lot of support will be available to women who come forward.

"And what we don't know, John, is whether in fact women in that situation have already been getting support from rape crisis or sexual help people or sexual assault help people or the police. Now, because they don't report back to us either."

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Trevor Mallard says the offender or offenders may still be working at Parliament. Source: Breakfast