Government invests €11 million on combating sexual harassment

Hands off Photo: Depositphotos
Hands off Photo: Depositphotos

The cabinet has allocated €11 million to a ‘plan of action’ to combat sexual harassment and violence saying that the issue is ‘a social problem which must be fought against through legislation and regulations, public campaigns, the realisation of a safe working environment and help for victims’.

The government says that 22% of women and 6% of men have been the victims of sexual violence while 50% of women and 20% of men have been sexually harassed in a physical sense.

The campaign is partly based on proposals drawn up by government commissioner Mariette Hamer, who was appointed shortly after The Voice of Holland sexual abuse scandal to look into the issue.

Legislation must make it clear what behaviour is acceptable, what is unacceptable and what is criminal, the government statement said. ‘That means looking to anchor compulsory codes of conduct and complaints procedures in law.’

At the same time, some laws currently in place will be expanded so that ‘sexual intimidation in public places and off and online sex-chatting with children under the age of 16 become criminal offences.’

A string of reports last year highlighted the prevalence of sexual harassment in sport, at work, in the cultural sector and in education.

And national statistics agency CBS reported on Friday that 52% of young women say they were the victims of some form of sexually unacceptable behaviour in the past year, based on an online survey of 24,000 people.

Also on Friday it emerged that Maastricht University is introducing compulsory lessons for first years about identifying and counteracting sexual abuse.

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