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About Us School Administration Policy Document Prevention of Sexual Harassment
Prevention of Sexual Harassment
The Church of Christ in China Kei Long College
Policy on Prevention of Sexual Harassment
We are committed to providing equal opportunities for all staff and students to work and study, with zero tolerance allowed for any form of discrimination or harassment. We will take any and all necessary action to eliminate and prevent any discriminatory or harassing behaviours by members of the School / school community.
Sex discrimination and sexual harassment are prohibited by law. When sexual harassment occurs, it can adversely affect the work of our staff and the learning environment for students.
We are committed to eliminating and preventing sexual harassment and will never tolerate any sexual harassment by our staff or students. Our Policy on Prevention of Sexual Harassment has set out measures to prevent sexual harassment and mechanisms for handling sexual harassment complaints. We aim to cultivate the awareness of gender equality and promote mutual respect among staff and students.
II. Definition and Examples of Sexual Harassment
According to the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO), the legal definition of “sexual harassment” includes the following situations:
1. any person:
(a) makes an unwelcome sexual advance, or an unwelcome request for sexual favors, to another person; or
(b) engages in other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to another person, in circumstances in which a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would have anticipated that that other person would be offended, humiliated or intimidated; or
2. Any person, alone or together with other persons, engages in conduct of a sexual nature with creates a hostile or intimidating environment for another person.
Section 2(5) of the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (SDO) provides the definition of sexual harassment. In addition, sections 2(7), 2(8), 9, 23 and 39 are also provisions in relation to sexual harassment.
The following are some examples of sexual harassment acts:
- Uninvited physical contact or gestures
- Unwelcome requests for sex
- Sexual comments or jokes
- Intrusive questions or insinuations of a sexual nature about a person’s private life
- Displays of offensive or pornographic material such as posters, pinups, cartoons, graffiti or calendars
- Unwanted invitations
- Offensive communications of a sexual nature (letters, phone calls, faxes, e-mail messages, etc.)
- Staring or leering at a person or at parts of his / her body
- Unwelcome physical contact such as massaging a person without invitation or deliberately brushing up against him / her
- Touching or fiddling with a person’s clothing e.g., lifting up skirts or shirts, or putting hands in a person’s pocket
The following are some scenarios of creating a “hostile or intimidating environment” in schools:
- Anyone uses sexually suggestive cartoons in teaching a subject not related to sex.
- During recess and/or lunch time, a group of students hanging out in the playground and rate female students who are playing / chatting / staying there. As a result, some of the female students avoid staying in the playground;
- In the staff room where there are both female and male colleagues, some colleagues display nude pictures as screen savers on the computer; or some like to exchange obscene jokes with each other in the presence of other colleagues of the opposite sex.
- Staff members make sexual jokes or discuss their sex lives within earshot of other staff / students in the School premises.
A group of students has hijacked the classroom discussion and turned it to a topic related to sexuality. Feeling offended, students of the opposite sex do not want to take part in the discussion.
III. Measures to Prevent Sexual Harassment
We will formulate and promote a policy on the prevention of sexual harassment and raise the awareness of students, parents, school staff, volunteer workers, contract employees / service providers / agents, etc., on the prevention of sexual harassment through publicity, lectures, training, and other activities.
Promotion and Education
1. To raise the understanding and awareness of teaching staff on sexual harassment, we will:
- Provide the policy statement and other relevant information on sexual harassment to new staff as a standard part of induction;
- Distribute/restate the policy statement to staff for discussion/ reinforcement at staff meetings at regular intervals;
- Post notices to disseminate related information;
- Conduct awareness raising sessions for general staff on sexual harassment issues and encourage the persons/ teachers appointed for handling sexual harassment complaints to receive appropriate training to enable sensitive treatment of such cases.
2. To raise the awareness of sexual harassment of students and parents, we will:
- promulgate our policy and the handling procedures on sexual harassment to students and their parents at the students’ orientation programmes, assemblies, briefing sessions, parent-teacher association, notices, circulars, student handbooks, intranets and seminars, etc.
- incorporate the topic of “sexual harassment” into school syllabus, so as to help our students develop positive values and attitudes (such as respect and care for others) and teach them proper behaviours for coping with interpersonal relationships in order to arouse their awareness on sexual harassment and remind them to seek help from others when necessary.
3. In terms of education and training: We will arrange some developmental counseling activities according to the different stages of students’ growth and development in order to cultivate positive values and attitudes that have an important impact on our students’ individual and group development, such as promoting gender equality and respecting others. Once our students have cognitively and emotionally developed a certain level of awareness and understanding of these values and messages, they will be able to think critically, analyze challenging situations, solve problems, make appropriate reactions, and build equal and mutually respecting relationship with others. All these can help to prevent acts of sexual harassment from happening.
IV. Mechanisms for Handling Sexual Harassment Complaints
1. Anyone who feels being sexually harassed may take the following informal or formal management measures:
- Take a stand immediately and tell the harasser that what his/her did is unwelcome and must be stopped;
- Tell trusted people, such as teachers / colleagues, and seek their emotional comfort and advice;
- Record details of the incident in writing, including date, time, place, witnesses, and the complainant's response
- Make a formal complaint to the School Principal / Vice-Principal / student guidance officer / discipline master or mistress;
- Lodge a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission and request for investigation and mediation;
- Report to the police and/or take legal action against individual harassers.
2. Complaint Channels
If staff or students believe they are the victims of sexual harassment, they should take actions as soon as possible. In fact, it is in everyone's best interest to correct the situation immediately. Ignoring the impacts of sexual harassment will only worsen the situation, as the harasser may misinterpret the victim's non-response as consent or condoning of his or her behaviours. Meanwhile, any delay in filing a complaint will also make the investigation and provision of evidence difficult.
School staff or students may file a complaint with the School Principal or the Sexual Harassment Prevention Team. The complaint must be lodged within 1 month.
The convenor and members of the "Sexual Harassment Prevention Team" are as follows:
Convenor: Vice-principal (Student Development)
Team members: student guidance officer and deputy student guidance officer / discipline master or mistress and deputy discipline master or mistress
(Note: The convenor and members must include both male and female)
3. Complaint Management
Upon receiving a complaint by the School Principal or the Sexual Harassment Prevention Team, the School Principal may appoint one to three members of the Sexual Harassment Prevention Team or other school staff to set up a task force in handling the complaint.
During the process of mediation, investigation of complaints and appeals, we will make every reasonable effort to ensure the confidentiality of the process and protect the privacy of all parties concerned.
After receiving a formal complaint, the Sexual Harassment Prevention Team will take the following key steps in the complaint management process:
- Initiate an internal process for handling the sexual harassment complaint;
- Keep all information and records related to the sexual harassment complaints confidential;
- Notify the alleged harasser of details of the allegation;
- Inform the complainant and the alleged harasser of how the investigation will be conducted and the personnel responsible for handling the investigation;
- Arrange for the complainant and the alleged harasser to avoid contact during the investigation period if necessary;
- Provide support and counselling as needed, including the provision of information about sexual harassment to the parents / students / staff and answering their questions or concerns (e.g., what to do if they are being sexually harassed);
- Interview the complainant. Complainants who are students may be accompanied by his/her parents or relatives and friends to the interview;
- Interview the alleged harasser. Alleged harassers who are students may be accompanied by their parents or relative to the interview;
- Interview witnesses of the complaint or take written statements from them;
- Assess the evidence and make decisions;
- Prepare a written report and inform the parties concerned of the investigation findings in writing;
- Consult the Equal Opportunities Commission as necessary;
- Determine if disciplinary measures or other appropriate action are required.
If the sexual harassment complaint is under criminal investigation by law enforcement agencies or criminal or civil proceedings in court, we will suspend its relevant mediation or investigation efforts.
4. Disciplinary Measures in School
If a staff member is proven to have violated the Sex Discrimination Ordinance, we will report it to the Incorporated Management Committee (IMC). The IMC will decide on disciplinary measures. If a student is proven to have violated the Sex Discrimination Ordinance, we will decide on disciplinary measures and report the incident to the IMC. If we consider that the matter of the complaint may constitute a criminal offence, we will consider reporting the incident to the police.