Sexual harassment is widespread within the South Australian legal profession with incidents involving senior lawyers and members of the judiciary, a report has found.
An investigation by Acting Equal Opportunity Commissioner Steph Halliday also found much of the unwanted behaviour went unreported with victims fearing their careers would suffer if they spoke up.
After taking more than 600 survey responses and other submissions, Ms Halliday said 42 per cent reported experiencing sexual or discriminatory harassment with 69 per cent of those opting not to report the incidents.
The unwanted behaviour ranged from suggestive comments or jokes to touching, hugging and kissing and even pressure for sex.
Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said the report, which included 16 recommendations, would provide a blueprint for reform by both the government and the profession.
"This review is an unpleasant read, but a crucially important document," Ms Chapman said.
"The extent and nature of harassment within the legal profession is alarming and must be addressed."
Among the experiences shared by the review's participants, one involved repeated lewd, inappropriate, and harassing remarks made by a magistrate and another involved a sexual assault by a former judge.
In a further incident, a judicial officer told a woman "I would like to throw you down on the floor and f..k you now, I love strong women".
The report also related the experience of someone who attended a function at a law firm where a senior partner, described as a serial offender, wanted to go back to the office to have sex.
Ms Halliday said the review heard overwhelmingly that reducing harassment would not be achieved solely by increasing the number of formal complaints brought by victims.
"The South Australian legal profession must scrutinise its ethos and foster mutual respect and civility," she said.
The report's recommendations included legislative changes to impose a duty on employers to eliminate discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation.
It also called for better training for both lawyers and judicial officers and for the Legal Professional Conduct Commissioner to be given more power to crack down on unwanted behaviour.
It said extra resources should be provided to the commissioner to provide the office with more investigative solicitors and proposed an online system to take informal reports and formal complaints.
Ms Halliday also called for a further review of the profession within three years.
The State Courts Administration Council said responses received during the review "did not detail incidences of harassment perpetrated by any sitting judicial officer".
"Overbearing and bullying behaviour is totally unacceptable," the council said in a statement.
"The council will continue and increase its efforts to stop it happening and support our employees who have suffered this behaviour."
The Law Society of South Australia said it "accepts that sexual harassment is a problem in the profession" and is committed to stamping it out.
Australian Associated Press