The Sexual Harassment (Protection and Prevention) Bill of 2021 was passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday, July 13, after ten (10) amendments. The recommended time limit for the reporting of an incident of sexual harassment is six years.

The Bill promises to give men and women who are victims of sexual harassment, an equal opportunity to seek justice while addressing cultural norms of sexual harassment in Jamaica. The legislation addresses concerns about sexual harassment that is employment-related, happening in institutions, or occurring in the landlord and tenant relationship.

It says that an employer or a person in charge of an institution has a duty to keep and maintain a confidential account of sexual harassment cases.

Such account will detail all information relative to a sexual harassment complaint, including the name of the parties involved in the sexual harassment claim, the particulars of the sexual harassment claim, the date on which the sexual harassment claim was reported, actions taken by the employer or person in charge of an institution in relation to the sexual harassment claim, and such other details relating to the sexual harassment claim.

While closing the debate on the Bill, the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment, and Sports, Olivia Babsy Grange says the new Sexual Harassment Bill is a direct effort by legislators to deal with the widespread sexual harassment in the country of Jamaica.

Opposition Spokesman Mikael Phillips while commending the collaborative effort to make the proposed bill law, says more can be done to strengthen it.

Education Minister Fayval Williams in her contribution says schools, especially at the tertiary level will have to create policies that seek to effectively tackle sexual harassment.

The Bill which was passed by the Lower House will be sent to the Senate for approval – then it will become law.

More in this CVM Live story from Christeen Forbes: