Mon, Jan 17, 2005 - Page 2 News List

MOI to establish network to address sexual harassment

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

In response to the passage of the Sexual Harassment Prevention Law (性騷擾防治法) last Friday, the Ministry of the Interior is beginning this week to map out detailed plans for handling complaints and counseling associated with sexual harassment.

"The MOI is the government body in charge of the Sexual Harassment Prevention Law. Due to the new administrative front this new law presents, the MOI is inviting related government units to discuss the establishment of by-laws," said Lin Tsyr-ling (林慈玲), executive secretary of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention Committee under the ministry.

According to Lin, the new law stipulates that local governments set up sexual assault prevention committees.

For the past five years, an alliance of civic groups, consisting of various women's and children's rights groups, have been aggressively pushing their own version of the legislation and finally reached a compromise with the ministry with regard to the contents of the law.

"Beginning the day the MOI promulgates this law, the alliance [of civic groups] will give it one year to make necessary preparations," said Judge Kao Fehng-shian (高鳳仙) of the Taiwan High Court, who is also an active member of the alliance.

Some 70 percent of the civic version was retained in the final draft of the legislation that passed into law.

Authorities are expected to launch programs to raise awareness about sexual harassment and establish complaint channels for people who find themselves the victims of such harassment.

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