The EOC Releases Findings of the Questionnaire Survey on Sexual Harassment for the Sports Sector
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) today (25 February 2019) released findings from its “Sexual Harassment – Questionnaire Survey for Sports Sector 2018”. The survey was conducted by the EOC in collaboration with the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China (SF&OC) between July and October 2018, which was the second sector-wide survey of its type following the baseline Survey conducted in 2014. The follow-up study was conducted to understand the latest situation about the formulation of anti-sexual harassment policies of the sports sector. It also explored whether the National Sports Associations (NSAs) have sufficient resources to provide awareness training for their staff and coaches on preventing sexual harassment.
NSAs, being the sole bodies governing their respective sports, are responsible for coordinating local sports organisations and promoting interests in sports in Hong Kong. The questionnaires were disseminated by e-mail via the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China (SF&OC) to the 79 NSAs in Hong Kong between 12 July and 12 October 2018. 42 completed questionnaires were returned to the EOC, and the response rate was 53%.
It is encouraging to note that the number of NSAs with an anti-sexual harassment policy has increased from seven NSAs (13% of the responded NSAs) in 2014 to 22 NSAs (52% of the responded NSAs) in 2018. Another 17 NSAs are expected to complete their anti-sexual harassment policies by the fourth quarter of 2019. 60% of the responded NSAs have developed a Code of Ethics / Guidelines on sexual harassment for their coaches.
The findings also indicate that raising awareness is helpful for promoting anti-sexual harassment policies in the sports sector. Nine NSAs (41%) formulated the policy between 2015 and 2017 while seven NSAs (32%) formulated the policy in 2018. Such findings coincide with the two rounds of anti-sexual harassment campaign conducted by the EOC in collaboration with the SF&OC in 2014/15 and early 2018 respectively, which helped raise the awareness of sexual harassment of the sports sector. Among those NSAs that had developed the policy before 2017, six of them have reviewed the policy in 2017-2018.
Dr Ferrick CHU Chung-man, Acting Chief Operations Officer of the EOC, said, “There has been a substantial improvement in the accessibility and transparency of the anti-sexual harassment policy of NSAs in the past five years. Among the 22 NSAs that have an anti-sexual harassment policy, 12 NSAs (55%) have uploaded the policy on their website, and 10 NSAs (45%) have informed their members about the policy via e-mail. A similar survey conducted in 2014 showed that none of the NSAs had uploaded the policy on their website at the time, and only three NSAs had informed their members about the policy via e-mail. The easy access to the policy now helps increase awareness on preventing sexual harassment within the sports clubs.”
According to the findings, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) provides a major source of funding for NSAs. The majority of the responded NSAs (93%) are subvented by the LCSD. Among the subvented NSAs, nearly half of them (45%) did not have any anti-sexual harassment policy, and 58% of them indicated that they did not have sufficient funding or resources from the Government to carry out the reasonably practicable steps to prevent sexual harassment, especially those relatively small-sized NSAs with less manpower and resources.
Dr CHU pointed out that written anti-sexual harassment policies and awareness training programmes are both essential elements for an effective sexual harassment preventive strategy. The LCSD may consider making the formulation of a written anti-sexual harassment policy, the establishment of a transparent mechanism for handling sexual harassment complaints, the uploading of the anti-sexual harassment policy on website and the reporting of sexual harassment cases to the LCSD as part of the funding principles and measures to enhance corporate governance of NSAs. Besides, the Government should consider extending the coverage of the current funding scheme for athletes’ and coaches’ professional development, including training on equal opportunities and anti-sexual harassment.
“The Government should also provide adequate resources and funding for NSAs and sports clubs to carry out safeguarding measures to protect all staff and athletes, especially young athletes, from sexual harassment and sexual abuse,” concluded Dr CHU.
Preventing and 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, including the sports sector, and provided training for individual organisations to help them deal with sexual harassment complaints. In early 2018, the EOC has updated the policy framework and published an easy guide on “Formulating Policy on Sexual Harassment in Sports Organisations” to help sports organisations develop a comprehensive and effective anti-sexual harassment policy. The EOC will continue to offer help to NSAs and sports organisations, especially in providing anti-sexual harassment training to their staff members, coaches and athletes to ensure that everyone can take part in sports activities in a safe and mutually respectful environment free from sexual harassment.
For details of the Survey, please refer to the following link:
Equal Opportunities Commission
25 February 2019
25 February 2019