Game on as MeToo sparks true sports

Local | Maisy Mok 26 Jan 2021

Ninety percent of SAR sports associations have adopted anti-sexual harassment policies, more than double the number from 2018 after MeToo consciousness encouraged people to report assaults, Equal Opportunities Commission has found.

It found that 71 of 79 sports associations, or 90 percent, had developed such policies as of October.

That is a significant improvement from 2018, when only 28 had done so, and from 20 back in 2014.

The 71 associations have also posted the policy or code of conduct on websites, which the commission said it is a "great improvement" on their transparency efforts on anti-harassment information.

The watchdog found that all 60 subvented sports associations have formulated such a policy while only 58 percent of self-financed associations, or 11 out of 19, had done the same.

Ssome of the self-funded associations did not have sufficient resources and manpower to formulate such policies, according to the watchdog.

It will continue to encourage associations to develop such policies through public education.

Hong Kong's sports industry has seen several cases of sexual assault in the past few years.

A coach accused of indecent assault on the pretext of administering a massage was found not guilty in 2018 in the first MeToo case brought to court, although the judge praised the athlete for being brave and helping society in the long run.

In a much more recent case in November, a 33-year-old purported martial arts instructor was sentenced to 11 weeks in jail for indecently assaulting four women.

The commission said studies on the MeToo movement suggested a growing number of victims do speak out on social media due to obstacles they encountered with official complaint mechanisms.

It suggested crucial elements such as "no one will be penalized for complaining in good faith" and contact details of staffers responsible for handling complaints should be included in policies.

It also announced yesterday the setting up of an anti-harassment unit in November and the launch of a hotline on 2106-2222.

The hotline will provide information such as interpretations of sexual harassment under the Sexual Discrimination Ordinance, complaint procedures and community resources for counseling.

Victims, employers and human resource staff can also seek guidance through the hotline.

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