The Sexual Harassment (Protection and Prevention) Act, 2021, became effective on Monday, July 3 and is being widely praised for implementing concrete measures to safeguard the vulnerable and foster a cultural shift towards ending sexual harassment in Jamaica.
The legislation explicitly addresses concerns regarding employment-related sexual harassment, incidents in institutions, and situations arising in landlord and tenant relationships. Its provisions encompass various settings such as workplaces, schools, correctional institutions, places of safety, nursing homes, medical facilities, and entertainment spaces, among others.
During the 2023/24 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on June 13, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, revealed that mechanisms were being established to investigate and adjudicate sexual harassment complaints. Notably, four sexual harassment investigators were hired, and extensive sensitization sessions were conducted with companies throughout Jamaica.
Minister Grange emphasized the responsibility of employers and individuals in charge of institutions to ensure that the mandated policy statement, as required under the Sexual Harassment Act, is prepared and disseminated to workers, clients, students, residents, inmates, patients, or members within a year of the commencement date.