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New sexual harassment legal service launched for women in Scotland

Illustration of a megaphone that reads 'Sexual harassment legal service'.

The Scottish Women’s Rights Centre (SWRC) have today (Thursday 1st August 2019) launched a new specialist legal service which will provide legal information, advice and representation to women who have experienced sexual harassment at work, in further education or online.

This is a unique service in Scotland made possible by funding from the Justice and Equality Fund — a fund administered by Rosa and set up by a group of women in the entertainment industry in response to the #MeToo and TIME’S UP movements.

The SWRC’s sexual harassment legal service will focus on raising awareness and increasing the availability of specialist legal support through a weekly legal helpline, legal surgeries and legal representation.

In addition, it will also develop information resources, training and policy work around this issue.

The aim is to improve access to justice for women in Scotland who have experienced sexual harassment.

The service will be run by Sarah Mennie, an employment lawyer with expertise in discrimination law and human rights.

Sandy Brindley, CEO of Rape Crisis Scotland said:

“Sexual harassment is a daily reality for many women and girls across Scotland whether we are walking down the street, in school or university, on public transport and even in work. Comments, stares, so called ‘jokes’ are so common that some people think of them as normal, which can mean that when it comes to challenging these behaviours it can be incredibly difficult to know what to do, or even what your options are.

“No-one should have to put up with inappropriate behaviour, it’s just not okay. We all have a right to feel safe in public, at home, in work and going about our daily lives, but for that to happen there needs to be much more accountability than there is at the moment. Having a solicitor focused specifically on sexual harassment at the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre is a massive step forward in helping to build a culture where sexual harassment is not tolerated, one where women can live their lives free from fear and harassment.”

Sarah Crawford, Lead Solicitor of the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre, said:

“As has been highlighted in recent reports in the UK media, sexual harassment is prevalent in our society and more needs to be done to address it. We are delighted to be launching a specialist service to help women to tackle this insidious and deep-rooted problem.”

ENDS

About the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre

The Scottish Women’s Rights Centre was launched in 2015 and it is a collaboration between Rape Crisis Scotland, JustRight Scotland and the University of Strathclyde Law Clinic. The Centre provides free legal information, advice, representation and advocacy support to women in Scotland who have experienced or are experiencing gender based violence.

Notes to editors

  • The Sexual Harassment Legal Helplinewill open weekly and offer legal information on rights for women who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, in a higher education institution, or online. The helpline can be reached on 08088 010 789 and it’s open on Thursdays, 5pm to 8pm.
  • Legal surgeries will take place in locations throughout the central belt, where more detailed advice will be offered on women’s individual circumstances. The surgeries will help them to use the law to report sexual harassment to their employers, their institution, or the police, and to take legal action where possible.
  • Further information about the SWRC’s sexual harassment legal service: www.scottishwomensrightscentre.org.uk/sexual-harassment.
  • More details about the Justice and Equality Fund: www.rosauk.org/news/grantee-stories/justice-and-equality-fund.

Media enquiries

For any media enquiries, please contact Natalia Equihua at Scottish Women’s Rights Centre on 0141 331 4183 or communications@scottishwomensrightscentre.org.uk.

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