No excuse: Back sexual harassment campaign
by Hazel Gavigan

Fórsa and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions have welcomed a new Government initiative to combat sexual harassment and violence. The move comes after it was revealed that Ireland has the highest level of sexual harassment in Europe.

A survey revealed that nearly a third of women between the ages of 18 to 34 say they experienced some form of sexual harassment in the last 12 months.

On foot of this shocking statistic, Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan has launched a major national awareness campaign on sexual harassment and sexual violence.

The ‘no excuses’ media campaign, which features an ad to run for three years, aims to increase society's awareness of sexual harassment and sexual violence. It also intends to bring about a change in long-established behaviours and attitudes, and activate bystanders with the aim of decreasing and preventing this kind of violence.

Fórsa Equality Officer Geraldine O’Brien welcomed the campaign, and said such initiatives could help reduce sexual violence by creating an open discussion on the problem.

“The prominence of this campaign breaks down barriers by bringing sexual harassment into an open forum. The ad creates a greater understanding of sexual harassment and violence. It will make people more aware of potentially dangerous situations, and provide us with tools to diffuse them,” she said.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) also commended the initiative and called for improved protections for people experiencing sexual harassment.

ICTU General Secretary Patricia King said: “It’s time for complaints of sexual harassment to be elevated to the status of ‘protected disclosures’, ensuring stronger protection and reporting mechanisms for those submitting them.”

The ‘no excuses’ initiative is timely as negotiations will take place on a new International Labour Organization convention on violence and harassment in the workplace at the International Labour Conference next month.

Click here for more information on the campaign and here to watch the ad.

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