The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and the Divinity School of Chung Chi College, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) co-organised the “Seminar on Prevention of Sexual Harassment in Churches” today (12 October 2018). The seminar aims to raise the awareness of sexual harassment and promote the formulation of effective anti-sexual harassment policies in churches to ensure that church-going remains a spiritually nourishing experience.
At the seminar, Dr Ferrick CHU Chung-man, Director of Policy, Research & Training of the EOC, talked about the definition of sexual harassment and legal liability of individuals and churches under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO). Under the SDO, sexual harassment includes any unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favours, and other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, where a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would have anticipated that the victim would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.
Mr CHONG Yiu-kwong, Deputy Convenor of the EOC’s Working Group on Anti-Sexual Harassment Campaign, explained the ways for formulating effective anti-sexual harassment policies in churches. The EOC also prepared the Framework for Sexual Harassment Policy in Churches as reference for churches to formulate a policy of their own. Copies of the Framework are distributed to participants of the seminar and is posted on the website of the EOC.
Representatives from the CUHK also participated in discussing sexual harassment cases and pastoral care. Rev Ray WONG Ka-fai, School Chaplain and Director of Pastoral Programme, Divinity School of Chung Chi College of the CUHK shared the experiences of local and overseas churches in handling sexual harassment cases. Ms Vicky SHIU, Assistant Chaplain, Divinity School of Chung Chi College of the CUHK talked about how to assist and accompany victims of sexual harassment.
Besides, Rev Prof LO Lung-kwong, General Secretary of Hong Kong Christian Council; Professor Angela WONG Wai Ching, Vice President of the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia; Ms Ivy CHUNG Wai-yin from the Support Service for Church, Hong Kong Christian Service and Mr Kelvin MAK Kwong-yuen, Chief Equal Opportunities Officer, Complaint Services Division of the EOC, joined the sharing session on formulation of anti-sexual harassment policy and handling related complaints.
In her closing remarks, Professor Susanne CHOI, Convenor of the Working Group on Anti-Sexual Harassment Campaign of the EOC reiterated, “Sexual harassment will not be tolerated in churches or any other institutions. Eliminating sexual harassment has always been one of the EOC’s priority work. The EOC has carried out anti-sexual harassment campaigns in a wide range of sectors over the years, and will continue its work in raising the awareness of sexual harassment through public education, training and publicity activities.”
The Working Group on Anti-Sexual Harassment Campaign of the EOC was established in late 2012. In an effort to build a pluralistic and inclusive society and to create a friendly environment which is free of discrimination and harassment, the EOC launched the Anti-Sexual Harassment Campaign in 2013 and targeting a wide range of sectors, including education, sports, social welfare, service and religious sectors. By conducting surveys, organising public education activities, drafting policy frameworks and giving training sessions, the EOC has strived to gauge the severity of the problem in different fields and encourage the adoption of preventive measures at the same time.
EOC Director of Policy, Research & Training Dr Ferrick CHU Chung-man (third from left), Convenor of the EOC’s Working Group on Anti-Sexual Harassment Campaign Professor Susanne CHOI (fourth from left) and Deputy Convenor Mr CHONG Yiu-kwong (fourth from right) posing for a group photo with guest speakers.
A number of guest speakers joined the sharing session on formulation of anti-sexual harassment policy and handling related complaints.
Equal Opportunities Commission
12 October 2018