Amsterdam city council is considering amending its bylaws to make it an offence to harass or hiss at people in the street as part of a package of measures to reduce intimidation in public places, the Parool said on Tuesday.
The city’s executive board has backed a plan by the right-wing liberal party VVD and the Christian Democrats to make it clear that Amsterdam ‘does not tolerate any form of intimidation’, the paper said.
The proposal, which also includes an educational programme for schools, still needs to be approved by the entire council. If the plan is voted through perpetrators could be fined up to €4,100 or jailed for three months.
City council research involving 1,000 women found 59% had experienced some form of harassment on the street in the previous year. This included whistling, hissing, aggressive demands for sex, being followed and sexually assaulted. Over eight in 10 women aged 15 to 34 reported having problems.
The problem is most acute near the main railway station, in the red light district and in areas where nightlife is concentrated.
Because it is difficult to prove that intimidation has taken place, the city wants to use plain-clothes ‘monitors’ to intervene if necessary.