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Jamaica: House debates report on long-awaited Sexual Harassment Bill

The House of Representatives on Tuesday began debate on the report on the long-awaited Sexual Harassment Bill, with Gender Minister Olivia Grange declaring that the day “represents a significant milestone in our long journey to provide protection to many women and men who are suffering the harmful effects of sexual harassment.”

The minister made the comment as she opened the debate on the far-reaching legislation that is aimed at treating with a longstanding problem. The memorandum of objects and reasons of the Bill notes that at present, “sexual harassment is not specifically recognised in any existing legislation in Jamaica”.

In reading from the report of the joint select committee of Parliament that examined the Bill, Grange noted that after much deliberation, the committee agreed to widen the categories of persons who can be sexually harassed.

“The committee agreed that sexual harassment can be perpetuated by clients, from one student to another; and that employers can be harassed by employees,” she said.

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