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The EOC Announces Results of “Sexual Harassment – Questionnaire Survey for Education Sector 2014”

22/01/2015

The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) announced today (22 January 2015) the results of the “Sexual Harassment – Questionnaire Survey for Education Sector 2014”, which indicates a substantial increase in the number of schools that have an anti-sexual harassment policy since this survey was last conducted in March 2013.

The 2014 survey, carried out in partnership with the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, saw 494 completed surveys out of a total number of 1,172 questionnaires distributed to all primary and secondary schools as well as tertiary institutions across the territories.

Among these respondents, 88% (437 schools) said that they have a policy statement on anti-sexual harassment, which is a marked improvement from the 2013 figure of 53%. In particular, the proportion of primary schools with an anti-sexual harassment policy statement rose considerably from 47% in 2013 to 86% in 2014, while a corresponding increase from 57% in 2013 to 90% in 2014 was also seen for secondary schools. Of the schools who have a policy statement on anti-sexual harassment, more than half (59%) said they began implementing such a policy in 2013 and 2014.

 “We are strongly encouraged by the results of the survey, as enabling a school environment that is free from sexual harassment has been one of our priority work areas over the last few years,” said Dr. John TSE Wing-ling, Convenor of the EOC’s Policy and Research Committee. “We believe these survey results compellingly demonstrate the positive impact of the Commission’s various initiatives on this front, from the creation of the Framework for Sexual Harassment Policies in Schools to our seminars and workshops, all of which were aimed at equipping educators to formulate and implement such a policy as well as to handle related complaints.” 

“The results also indicate that the contents of the anti-sexual harassment statement are progressively more comprehensive, with more user-friendly measures to clearly communicate the policy to relevant stakeholders,” added Dr. Tse. The vast majority of schools with an anti-sexual harassment policy statement indicated that their policy statement includes key items such as “The options available for dealing with sexual harassment complaints formally” (98%) and “A clear statement that sexual harassment will not be tolerated” (96%). A sizeable rise (from 22% in 2013 to 63% in 2014) was also seen in the number of schools who said that their anti-sexual harassment policy is posted on bulletin boards / school intranet, indicating greater efforts to widen knowledge about such a policy.

 “However, for responding schools without a policy statement on anti-sexual harassment (53 schools), it is disappointing to see that 47% had no plan to formulate this policy in the near future.  Given the serious nature of sexual harassment, it makes sense for ‘relevant stakeholders’ to encourage teachers and principals to take prompt action to embrace an anti-sexual harassment policy,” added Dr. Tse.

In terms of training for teachers, within the previous 3 years (2011-2013), 41% of the respondent schools had sent their teachers to training on anti-sexual harassment, compared to 23% in the years 2010-2012. Importantly, among these schools, significantly more teachers had received such training in schools with a policy statement (40%) than those without it (1%).

 “Indeed, we are heartened by the evident strengthening in stakeholders’ awareness level over the last few years on effectively preventing and dealing with sexual harassment in schools,” reiterated Dr. Tse. “Nevertheless, there remains room for further improvement. The Commission is committed to ensuring that a safe and sexual harassment-free educational experience can be enjoyed by all. We will continue to offer assistance, resources and related training to schools, as well as to work closely with relevant stakeholders, to further this positive momentum.”

Since 2013, the EOC has stepped up its efforts to promulgate the importance of preventing sexual harassment in the educational sector, and providing educational professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge to articulate anti-sexual harassment policies and deal with related complaints. These included organising a series of seminars and workshops for school principals, administrators and staff in addition to the EOC’s regular training courses; publishing a “Framework for Sexual Harassment Policies in Schools”; and creating a dedicated resource page on the EOC website. In addition, the EOC organised workshops for university student leaders on preventing sexual harassment when organising activities, such as orientation camps.

Please click here to view the summary of survey findings.


For media enquiries, please contact Ms Mariana LAW at 2106 2226.
 

Equal Opportunities Commission
22 January 2015

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