Singapore

Call for code to deal with sexual violence on campus

A national guideline on addressing campus sexual violence should be developed, said Nominated MP Yip Pin Xiu yesterday.

This can be adopted by all educational institutions, thus resolving the problem of institutions having different policies and protocols for dealing with sexual violence on campus, she added.

Ms Yip, who made the call when debating the Budget statement, said undergraduate Monica Baey's case last year had shown it is often inadequate to rely on institutions to develop their own policies and protocols for such cases.

The incident sparked a national debate on whether the perpetrator was let off too lightly and inspired a discussion about disciplinary processes in universities and how such cases are handled.

Said Ms Yip: "Whether students get their case investigated, how it will be investigated, and what the outcomes may be, and what support they receive as victims would differ depending on where they go to school. This should not be the case."

SET STANDARDS

A national code, she said, would set out the duties of the schools to ensure zero tolerance of sexual harassment, provide adequate victim-care support, and set standards and principles for investigating and managing complaints.

She noted that 56 cases of sexual misconduct were reported to the autonomous universities over the academic years of 2015 to 2017.

Many more such cases may have gone unreported due to the stigma around sexual violence, she added.

Ms Yip also flagged the rise of sexual violence involving the use of technology, such as spy cameras, as another worrying trend.

She asked if mechanisms could be set up to swiftly remove non-consensually shared intimate materials, even before the perpetrator is convicted. Such mechanisms are already in place in Australia.

COURT & CRIME