Hangzhou introduces regulations to protect schoolchildren from sexual harassment

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Sexual harassment incidents in schools have aroused much outrage from the Chinese public in recent years. Many parents are concerned about their children due to the lack of prevention, reporting, and investigation mechanisms for tackling sexual harassment in schools. On August 6th, the Hangzhou Education Bureau introduced the first set of regulations in the country on how schools should handle incidents of sexual harassment against schoolchildren.

The set of regulations, named Suggestions on Establishing a Mechanism Against Sexually Harassing Minors On Campus, specifies the duties of individual teachers, the senior management personnel of schools, and the Education Bureau in terms of preventing, reporting, intervening and investigating sexual misconducts in schools.

All teachers are prohibited from having any intimate sexual relations, including of course sexual harassment, with any student. Class teachers and advisors must report sexual misconducts to school officials within six hours after a student reports being sexually harassed.

Schools must report to the procuratorate within 24 hours. No late reporting, concealing, or private mediation will be tolerated.

The Education Burau is allowed to investigate in advance and collect evidence. Psychological and legal services should be provided to the victim afterwards.

To ensure the enforcement of the regulations, relevant departments are suggested to launch series of sessions popularizing legal knowledge on sexual harassment for citizens. The regulations also require different departments and schools to exchange information often and improve the efficiency of their working mechanism.

Many people have warmly welcomed the introduction of the regulations and wish that they could be replicated in other cities. “These regulations are very necessary. Only collaborative efforts among schools and government departments can produce efficient interventions”, said an anonymous WeChat user.