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The EOC Issues Statement on Alleged Abuse of Elderly Residents in Nursing Home

27/05/2015

 

In regard to recent media reports that staff of an elderly home stripped residents naked before they were taken to the indoor shower area, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has issued today (27 May 2015) the following statement:

 

“The EOC is highly concerned about the incident, and considers the arrangement unacceptable. As well as causing physical and psychological harm to the elderly residents, and undermining their dignity, the arrangement may possibly constitute unlawful sexual harassment under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance, Cap. 480.”

 

“Under the Ordinance, it is unlawful for a person, in the course of providing goods, facilities or services to a woman, to make an unwelcome sexual advance, or an unwelcome request for sexual favours, to that woman; or engage in other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to that woman; in circumstances in which a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would have anticipated that the woman would be offended, humiliated or intimidated. In addition, sexual harassment is also defined as any person, either alone or together with other persons, engaging in a conduct of a sexual nature which creates a hostile or intimidating environment for a woman. The legal protection against sexual harassment applies to both men and women.

 

“The Ordinance also stipulates that employers may be vicariously liable for any discriminatory and sexual harassment acts done by their employees in the course of their employment, even if the employers did not know or did not approve of what the employees had done, unless the employers can show that they have taken reasonably practicable steps to prevent the employees from doing the unlawful act.”

 

“According to media reports, the residents stripped of their clothes were exposed in full view to other residents and people close by. The circumstances may give rise to a sexually hostile or intimidating environment for the residents concerned under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance.

 

“The EOC has been liaising with the social welfare and healthcare sectors, and providing training on equal opportunities and sexual harassment for staff of selected organisations and institutions. In view of this incident, the EOC will proactively contact the relevant organisations and Government departments and take appropriate follow-up actions. The EOC urges that residents and/or their family members who have undergone similar experiences may contact the EOC for enquiry or to lodge complaints with the Commission.” 

 

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For media enquiries, please contact Mr. Sam HO at 2106-2187.

 

Equal Opportunities Commission

27 May 2015

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