Harassment: Fixed Penalties

Home Office written question – answered on 28th October 2019.

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Photo of Alex Chalk Alex Chalk Conservative, Cheltenham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a fixed penalty offence for harassment.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women

The Government takes all forms of harassment extremely seriously.

Unwelcome advances that intimidate, degrade or humiliate, are an abuse of power and are unlawful. This Government has incorporated sexual harassment into the Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy for the first time, in recognition of its disproportionate impact on women.

Several criminal offences already cover sexual harassment in public places, including the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, the Public Order Act 1986, the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and the Equality Act 2010.

Together with the Government Equalities Office, we are working to better understand the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace and in public places. This autumn we will be running a nationally representative survey that will go out to 12,000 respondents. We will then consider next steps when we have access to this important evidence.

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