Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other senior politicians have responded after allegations that a Liberal Party official was raped by a colleague in an office in Parliament

Brittany Higgins, who was 24 at the time of the alleged incident, claims she was sexually assaulted after a night of drinking in March 2019

Higgins, who was “very drunk,” and her colleague ended up in Defense Secretary Linda Reynolds’ office despite not having a security pass

The 24-year-old then felt uncomfortable and lay down on the couch, News Corp reported on Monday

“Suddenly it was on top of me and I couldn’t physically get it from myself,” said Higgins

“I woke up in the middle of the rape I told him to stop I cried He didn’t even look at me It felt like I was some kind of body that was there. It didn’t feel like would it be something about me ”

The man left the building after the alleged attack, leaving Higgins in a “state of shock”

At work the following week, Higgins was drawn into a meeting during which she was told the man had resigned only because of the security breach in the office

Despite reporting the incident to the police, Higgins decided not to file a formal complaint because she wanted to protect the Liberal Party and its “dream job”

Higgins was later dragged into another meeting with Reynolds and her chief of staff in the same room where she was allegedly attacked

Higgins said during the meeting that she felt she was a “sudden problem” for Reynolds

“I felt like you checked a box that you had to have this conversation with me to say on the file,” We told her she could go to the police, “she said

In a statement released Monday, a spokesman for Morrison’s office said the alleged rape was “deeply worrying”

“The government takes all workplace safety issues very seriously. Everyone should feel safe in a workplace,” said a spokesman

The spokeswoman added that Higgins had “the full and ongoing support” of the office, and that Reynolds had decided to file a formal complaint with the police

“During this process, Minister Reynolds and a senior officer met with Ms. Higgins in the Minister’s office,” said the spokesman

“Given the seriousness of the incident, the location of the meeting with Ms. Higgins should have been considered and, in retrospect, this oversight is regretted

“Minister Reynolds reiterated to Ms. Higgins that whatever she wanted to do, she would be supported

“Minister Reynolds told Ms. Higgins that she was only concerned about her well-being and that there would be no impact on her career

Reynolds told Parliament on Monday she was unaware that the alleged incident happened in her office at the time of the meeting

“Of course I am aware of today’s reports and I am extremely concerned about the well-being of my former co-worker Women should be safe,” she said

Labor Frontbencher Senator Kristina Keneally said the minister needed to explain whether the allegations had been properly investigated and whether there were any security issues with employees accessing their office outside of business hours

“There are questions about whether this young woman has been pressured to choose between doing her job and reporting the matter to the police,” said Keneally

“I do not care which side of politics you are on, there is no place for such attacks and attacks in a workplace or in this Parliament”

“My government takes all these matters and all workplace safety issues very, very seriously,” he said

“Everyone should feel safe at work wherever that is. Today’s reports are deeply worrying. This matter is being investigated by the police”

“This is an important principle of best practice in empowering Ms. Higgins that the government has consistently followed on this matter,” he said

“This offering of support and assistance continues. It is important that Ms. Higgins’ views are heard and respected”

If you or someone you know has been subjected to sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT at 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECTorgau or call 000 in an emergency

Brittany Higgins

World news – AU – “Deeply worrying”: Employees allegedly raped in the parliament building