Zonta Club of Kowloon urges legal reform on sexual offenses 

The Zonta Club of Kowloon took advantage of the invitation from the Hong Kong government to respond to its consultation paper on sexual offenses and in October, they submitted its views on the Proposed Introduction of Offences on Voyeurism, Intimate Prying, Non-consensual Photography of Intimate Parts and Related Offences.

In Hong Kong, the sexual offenses laws has been used for more than 60 years, and a lot of it is incomplete. Notwithstanding suggestions from the Law Reform Commission over a number of years, the government has not implemented any reforms and the delay is highly unsatisfactory.

Led by the advocacy and legal committees, members of Zonta Club of Kowloon thoroughly discussed the proposed changes and have agreed, for the protection of women and girls, to advocate the following:
  • Offenders should be prosecuted irrespective of their motives.
  • For non-consensual photography of intimate parts, both "up skirting" and "down blousing" should be included.
  • Offenders should not be allowed to argue on grounds of reasonable excuse, as this would create ambiguity to escape conviction.
  • The victims’ consent would be required for the distribution of images of intimate acts.
  • Once prosecuted, details of the offenders should be included in the Sexual Conviction Record Check Scheme. This would enable employers to check whether eligible employees have any criminal records of sexual offenses.

Through the above effort, members of the Zonta Club of Kowloon hope they can urge the Hong Kong government and the Justice Department to implement necessary legal reforms. With development of media channels and cyberspace, we need to safeguard the privacy of women and girls. The trauma inflicted on victims can be lifelong, and it can crush the victims’ self-esteem forever.

This advocacy effort is part of the club's overall  for Zonta Says NO to Violence Against Women campaign.