Lois Simpson

Lois Simpson

Training Development Consultant, Air New Zealand

Lois was born and has lived in New Zealand all her life. However, like most kiwis, she has travelled extensively throughout the world, including the US, Asia, Middle East, as well the UK and European continent (the latter to try and understand why ancestors left to come down under!)

Lois has had an active involvement in sports (field hockey and cricket) but these days prefers more casual activities like hiking, pickleball, and e-biking. She’s also a painter (artist) and loves picking fresh veges from her garden on Waiheke Island.

Lois has been involved in the education of others all her life, however she believes she learns as much from others (as they do from her) during in her interactive classroom sessions.

She is a qualified teacher, and has a bachelor in education. Lois started teaching Physical Education (PE) to high school students who mostly didn’t want to take part in anything physical! So left, after attaining a role with the NZ Police working with front line Officers – to help them become (and stay) fit, healthy and safe. She was the only female in the role and LOVED it, hence remaining in the role for over 21 years.

Late in 2009 Lois was encouraged by ex-Police colleagues into a role in the Security team at Air New Zealand. They developed and enhanced the security programme delivered to our operational staff. For many years Lois specialised in the delivery of security training (practical and theory) to flight attendants and ran ‘Train the Security trainer’ sessions to upskill others. The team have built a toolbox of conflict resolutions techniques that are used by staff each and every flight to reduce conflict and increase compliance.

Lois currently works within Air New Zealand’s ‘Group Resilience’ team which includes Security and Emergency Management. The team identify threats, manage risks and ensure regulatory compliance to support and protect people, assets, information and the reputation of the airline.

Training remains a strong focus for Lois. She firmly believes well trained personnel are Air NZ’s biggest asset, they can save Air NZ in a crisis and their attention to the detail will help build internal pride, culture (brand) and character.

For Lois, aviation security, like learning, is a continuous, endless, ever changing journey.

Managing Sexual Assault Incidents Onboard Aircraft

In 2018, our Air New Zealand security team noted an increased trend of sexual assaults reported by our cabin crew.

Invariably the events were well managed with empathy for the victim and abhorrence for the assailant. However, we had a gut feeling something was missing…

We discovered a CNN video clip that helped us clarify what we needed to do to improve safety for the victims and manage sexual assaults claims better. The CNN video (recorded late 2017) revealed sexual assaults from four women who had flown on separate flights, with different airlines, throughout the US that year.

All four women interviewed claimed the cabin crew did little, or nothing, to help. The Airlines approached said they treated sexual complaints seriously – and provided generic statements, however none provided details of their policies, guidelines, or training.

The penny dropped when; Sara Nelson (Association of Flight Attendants) stated she had “never taken part in training on how to manage sexual harassment or sexual assaults,” it was also revealed that only 50% of reported incidents were handed over to Law Enforcement to investigate.

The CNN reporter said the women wanted three things:

  1. Victims separated from harasser
  2. Drunks offloaded
  3. Law Enforcement called every time

We immediately developed and released specific procedures and training to manage sexual assaults. Since releasing the procedures our crew have managed these events with the appropriate action, focus, and consistency required.

In this presentation I will share:

  • Our definition of indecent or sexual assault
  • The trends we have noted (in case study style)
  • Specific procedures produced for managing sexual assault incidents on board
  • Key training tips for staff, to manage and report indecent or sexual assault
  • Further reference material related to sexual assaults on board aircraft