EOC Welcomes the Passage of the Crimes (Amendment) Bill 2021
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) welcomes the passage of the Crimes (Amendment) Bill 2021 (“Bill”) in the Legislative Council today (30 September 2021).
The Bill introduces new offences of voyeurism, unlawful recording or observation of intimate parts, publication of images originating from vo-yeurism or unlawful recording or observation of intimate parts as well as publication or threatened publication of intimate image without consent, and related matters.
Mr Ricky CHU Man-kin, Chairperson of the EOC said, “The EOC is glad to learn that the Bill was passed by the Legislative Council. The amended law will bring substantial support to the work of the Government and the EOC in promoting equality and eliminating harassment and discrimination in society. It can better protect people from such serious conduct which violate the sexual autonomy of the victims, and likely constitute various forms of sexual harassment. As women are disproportionately targeted, such conducts often constitute a form of sex discrimination and image-based sexual violence.”
The EOC has made three submissions previously, in relation to the proposed introduction of offences of voyeurism, intimate prying, non-consensual photography of intimate parts, and related offences in the Bill. The EOC is pleased that the Government agreed to make the following crucial amendments in the Bill as recommended by the EOC:
To include an offence of recording/photography down the top of a person and that the offence by gender neutral;
To include in the offences situations where an image has been al-tered to appear that a person’s intimate parts are visible;
To include offences of threatening to publish record-ings/photography;
To provide comprehensive powers whereby an application can be made by the Department of Justice to a Magistrate to seek orders that any person delete or remove any intimate images that they con-trol (disposal orders).
The EOC is responsible for implementing the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO), which prohibits discrimination on the ground of sex, pregnancy, breastfeeding and marital status, as well as sexual harassment in various fields. From January 2018 to August 2021, the EOC received 558 sexual harassment complaints, representing 46% of all the complaints received by the EOC under the SDO. It shows that the issue of sexual harassment is very much a community concern. The EOC believes that the new criminal offences under the Crimes Ordinance can better protect people from such serious conduct which constitute sexual harassment.
Equal Opportunities Commission
30 September 2021
30 September 2021