ACSVAW Submission on "Law Reform Commission's Consultation Paper 'Miscellaneous Sexual Offences'"
The Association Concerning Sexual Violence Against Women (ACSVAW) was established in March, 1997. It is a non-profitable charitable organisation which advocates the equity between genders and is concerned about the threats and harm which sexual violence can do to the women, and aims at raising the public's awareness on this issue. ACSVAW founded the first sexual violence crisis centre in Hong Kong, RainLily, in 2000. RainLily coordinates support from different professional disciplines, provides one-stop service on counseling, medical help, legal advice and other relevant assistance, to help women suffering sexual violence rebuild their confidence. In addition to providing preventive education programs though our anti480 resource centre, ACSVAW also actively advocates relevant legal reforms to protect sexual violence victims.
In recent years, clandestine photo-taking has been serious, with a number of 285 reported cases in 2017 and 313 in 2016. Upskirting or under-the-skirt photo-taking, where a person operates an equipment beneath B's clothing in order to capture an image, is one of the rampant kinds. For upskirting inside the MTR areas, it had been recorded a high number of 327 reported cases in the past three years, with an average of a hundred annually. However, it is just the tip of the iceberg because the number only confines to railway areas. Unfortunately, Hong Kong does not have a single provision for clandestine photo-taking and the police use the public order related laws for arrest, like loitering, disorderly conduct in a public place and acts outraging public decency. However, clandestine photo-taking among personal and private relationships are not covered in existing criminal charges, thus hardly offering sufficient protection to victims of sexual violence. New offence of 'voyeurism' proposed by the Law Reform Commission should be carried out and let the public understand that clandestine photo-taking and observation are intrusions of others' rights and sexual autonomy. However, it is noticed that the new offence might not cover acts of upskirting. Section B of this paper includes ACSVAW's recommendations of improving the proposal of new offence of 'voyeurism' as to extending the coverage of upskirting.
Section A of this paper is ACSVAW's response to recent consultation paper on 'Miscellaneous Sexual Offences'. The legal definitions of rape and sexual assault were formed in 1957, which are very obsolete and not up-to-date. They cannot provide enough protection to sexual violence victims and limits sexual autonomy. ACSVAW reckons that the suggestions made by the Review of Sexual Offences Sub-committee of the Law Reform Commission in the past 5 years, including 'Rape and Other Non-consensual Sexual Offences', 'Sexual Offences Involving Children and Persons with Mental Impairment' and the recent 'Miscellaneous Sexual Offences', are more aligned with the social development nowadays. We sincerely hope that the government can carry out the reforms as soon as possible.