Equal Opportunities Commission


E-news Issue 179


SF&OC and EOC co-organise “Seminar on Eliminating Discrimination and Anti-Sexual Harassment in the Sports Sector”

Like other sectors in society, the sports sector is not immune to abuse and harassment, which can indeed happen in all sports and at all levels. The issues of sexual harassment are further complicated as the acts often involve the power dynamics between coaches and athletes, and physical contact with the athletes. Last year, hurdler Miss Vera LUI Lai-yiu revealed on the social media that she was sexually assaulted by her coach during her teens. The incident triggered widespread discussion in the society and turned the spotlight on sexual harassment in the sports sector.

The IOC Consensus Statement: Sexual Harassment and Abuse in Sport (2006) states that “Everyone in sport shares the responsibility to identify and prevent sexual harassment and abuse and to develop a culture of dignity, respect and safety in sport. Sport organisations, in particular, are gatekeepers to safety and should demonstrate strong leadership in identifying and eradicating these practices.”

In order to raise awareness of the importance of eliminating discrimination and preventing sexual harassment in the sports sector, the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China (SF&OC) and the EOC co-organised a seminar on 30 January, with support from the Home Affairs Bureau and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Attended by more than 200 representatives and staff members of various sports organisations and their affiliates, the seminar aimed at motivating sports organisations to develop anti-sexual harassment policies and mechanisms for handling related complaints.

Speaking at the seminar, EOC Chairperson Professor Alfred CHAN Cheung-ming pointed out that sexual harassment is a serious problem in our community and we must face it squarely. “In the past three years, the EOC received 233 complaints on sexual harassment. But since a lot of victims tend to remain silent, the problem might be more severe than we think.”

The EOC has been running an Anti-Sexual Harassment Campaign since 2013. Targeting at different sectors including the sports sector, the campaign features seminars and training activities, as well as guidelines on formulation of policies. Following the seminar on 30 January, the SF&OC and the EOC will organise two more workshops on preventing sexual harassment and handling related complaints for the sports associations in March 2018. The EOC will also continue to work with the sports sector, and assist organisations to put in place appropriate policies and measures for eliminating sexual harassment.