Increase in Workplace Sexual Violence Cases in past 3 years Significant result in RainLily Free Legal Clinic Service
Increase in Workplace Sexual Violence Cases in past 3 years
Significant result in RainLily Free Legal Clinic Service
Call for Public Support in #MeTooHK Anti-Sexual Violence Campaign
RainLily has received 802 sexual violence cases between 2014 and June 2017. Significant increase of workplace indecent assault on annual basis is shown in the 247 cases of indecent assault, from 8 cases in 2014 to 10 in 2015, and reached 24 cases in 2016. In terms of workplace indecent assault, 6 cases took place in working environment in 2015, increased by two times to 18 cases in 2016.
In the 81 cases of sexual harassment, over half (41) were from working relationship, 33 of the 41 victims were being continuously harassed, and 27 of the sexual harassment cases happened in the workplace. RainLily has taken ever-growing workplace sexual harassment cases on a yearly basis, from 6 in 2014, to 10 in 2015, and increased sharply to 21 in 2016.
Linda Wong, Executive Director of Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women (ACSVAW), points out, “Women being sexually assaulted have to face emotional distress, helplessness when making claims to police or Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), or fear of losing their jobs. Lacking legal information deters victims from securing their rights, so ACSVAW started the free Legal Empowerment Scheme, by arranging meetings between victims and pro bono lawyers, informing them with the legal procedures in making complaints, and what to know about attending court hearings. RainLily counselors will go through the whole legal process with victims.”
Between 2014 and 2017, Legal Empowerment Scheme has benefited 168 women. Around 40% of the women were assaulted by superiors or co-workers or customers, over one-fifth of the cases took place in office. 99 users of Legal Clinic have rated and made comments, and agreed that they felt safer and more secure after using the service and that it enhanced their capacity in law related to sexual harassment and sexual violence. The service helped break the psychological barriers in seeking legal assistance, empowered them in using legal procedures to protect themselves, and protected them from more sexual violence.
ACSVAW suggests continuing the free Legal Empowerment Scheme, urges Companies to establish protocols for handling sexual harassment in the workplace and educate the staff about it. It also suggests the EOC to review procedures and attitudes when handling complaint, develop positive attitudes of staff when helping marginal communities, proactively explain complainants’ rights and legal knowledge and help complainants in litigation. Besides, the government should establish an Equal Opportunities Tribunal, with judges specialized in equal opportunities. At the same time, the government should expand the scale of legal aid for complainants to seek justice in court.
ACSVAW believes any women, regardless of their occupation, lifestyle and moral belief, should have rights to choose their lifestyle, and to be protected by law and freedom from violence. Gender equality education is vital to eliminate the myths and stereotypes towards sexual violence. In honoring the worldwide #MeToo and International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25th, ACSVAW is initiating #MeTooHK Anti-Sexual Violence Campaign, calling the public to join a series of community events (Appendix I), including Arise- Sexual Abuse Survivors’ Portraits, Survivors Sharing and Run& Read, and to encourage survivors to break the silence.
About Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women
Established on 8 March 1997, the Association is the member of The Community Chest of Hong Kong, we support gender equity and with particular concerns about women facing sexual violence. The Association aims to urge both the government and the public to address issues relating to sexual violence against women; to assist the victims to fight for their rights; and provide support to help victims lead a life of self-confidence and dignity. (www.rainlily.org.hk)
RainLily is Hong Kong’s first one-stop crisis centre for sexual violence victims and has served more than 3000 victims of sexual violence since its establishment in 2000, by providing immediate medical, counselling and legal support.（RainLily Hotline：2375 5322）
About Legal Empowerment Scheme
ACSVAW started Legal Empowerment Scheme in 2014, by providing free legal clinic, including private consultations with pro-bono lawyers, information on the legal rights of sexual violence victims and legal process for sexual violence cases. RainLily counselors will take on the cases in following up the legal procedures, so to enhance their capacity in facing their trauma.
About #MeTooHK Anti-Sexual Violence Campaign
16 days between November 25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to December 10 Human Rights Day, ACSVAW is hosting a series of events on anti-gender based violence and survivor empowerment – including Arise – Sexual Abuse Survivors’ Portraits Exhibition, Survivors Sharing and Run & Read. We hope through these events, members of public can understand gender-based violence in Hong Kong and to support survivors in voicing out, and to end sexual violence together.
Kuma Chow (Communication & Resource Development Officer)
Tel：2392 2569 / Email：email@example.com