The EOC issues response to a joint letter regarding the sexual assault case at the Bridge of Rehabilitation
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has issued the following statement with regard to a joint letter presented to the EOC today (16 November 2016) by a concern group established by legislators The Hon LAU Siu-lai, Fernando CHEUNG Chiu-hung and SHIU Ka-chun, district councillor CHOW Wai-hung and various groups on the sexual assault case at the private residential care home, Bridge of Rehabilitation:
The EOC will study the concern group’s suggestions. The EOC has also agreed to the group’s request to meet its members in the near future for more in-depth discussions on ways to enhance measures to ensure people with disabilities (PWDs) can receive reasonable and fair treatment.
The EOC has been highly concerned with the rights of PWDs in different areas in society, in addition to implementing the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO) and three other anti-discrimination ordinances, as part of its effort to build a more harmonious society.
Following the incident at the Bridge of Rehabilitation, the EOC has stepped up publicity of sexual harassment prevention to the parents, carers and social workers of PWDs. Actions to be taken include:
1. On 30 November 2016, the EOC will hold a forum for social service organisations in Hong Kong to promote prevention of sexual harassment with the assistance of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service. The EOC also provided assistance to relevant organisations in establishing anti-sexual harassment policies and handling complaints.
2. On 14 December 2016, the EOC will hold a talk for the parents, carers and social workers of PWDs to educate them on disability rights as well as ways to prevent sexual harassment.
3. On 6 January 2017, the EOC will promote ways of preventing sexual harassment to persons working in private residential homes for PWDs with the assistance of the Social Welfare Department (SWD). The EOC will also educate them on their legal responsibilities as well as provide assistance to homes on how to establish anti-sexual harassment policies and handle complaints.
4. The EOC has been liaising with an organisation entrusted by the SWD to raise the standard of services at homes for the elderly. In order to enhance health workers’ understanding of equal opportunities legislation, the EOC has discussed with the organisation on incorporating relevant talks – to be conducted by EOC staff – in their training.
In two articles published on 19 and 24 October 2016, the EOC Chairperson Prof. Alfred CHAN Cheung-ming expressed disappointment over the Bridge of Rehabilitation incident and condemned the acts involved.
The EOC hopes that the rights of PWDs can be fully protected and that relevant Government departments would step up on-site inspections and enhance regulation of licenses for private residential care homes for PWDs.
For media enquiry, please contact Ms. Dorothy SAM at 2106-2124
Equal Opportunities Commission
16 November 2016