Parliamentary Replies

February 03, 2020

Sexual Harassment at the Institutes of Higher Learning

Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament

Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang, Nee Soon GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Education what new efforts is the Ministry launching to address attitudes of students and educators towards the sexual objectification, harassment and abuse of women in light of serious concerns over voyeurism cases at the institutes of higher learning.

Response

1. MOE and the Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) are strongly against all forms of sexual misconduct, including voyeurism.

2. Over the past year, the IHLs have reviewed and stepped up their efforts to tackle the issue of sexual misconduct holistically. They have implemented enhancements in four key areas.

3. First, they have enhanced their education efforts for students and staff, emphasizing what constitutes harm and violation, and the importance of respect for each other. These include briefings for students during orientation, online modules, face-to-face workshops, and regular outreach and awareness-building campaigns.

4. Second, they have strengthened their disciplinary frameworks to impose tougher penalties for sexual misconduct, including expulsion where warranted.

5. Third, they have enhanced campus infrastructure, including by expanding CCTV camera coverage and installing full-height partitions in restrooms.

6. Fourth, they have strengthened support for victims by enhancing training for first responders and front-line staff, to equip them with the skills to support victims sensitively. They have also established 24-hour helplines for student care and dedicated victim care units at some IHLs, and enhanced counselling services.