Government pushes policy to curtail sexual assault by government officials

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A government committee on policies relating to gender is proposing an action plan against rape and sexual harassment problems to the Cabinet, including severe disciplinary action against state officials who commit such crimes, a government spokeswoman said on Friday.

“The government is giving importance to the efforts against sexual harassment which is a deep-rooted problem that has long existed within the society,” said Government Deputy Spokeswoman Ratchada Thanadirek.

The government’s latest push to tackle rape and sexual harassment problems comes after two politicians from the Democrat Party and the Move Forward Party were accused of transgression in high profile cases.

Both cases allegedly involved multiple victims, some were minors.

Former deputy leader of the Democrat Party Prinn Panitchpakdi was accused of sexually assaulting 13 women since the first case was made public in April. He denied all wrongdoings.

This week, a Bangkok Councillor from the Move Forward Party, Arnuparb Tarntong, was accused of sexually assaulting four women. He denied all wrongdoings.

Ratchada said the National Women’s Status Development Policy and Strategy Committee’s action plan has three operational parts including:

  1. Developing a wider public awareness against sexual harassment and assault, including a mechanism to monitor and prevent sexual harassment and assault cases and encouraging the public not to ignore these problems.
  2. Ensuring that victims’ rights and welfare are protected in order for them to gain proper compensation and access to treatments that they need. This process also includes a mechanism to prevent repeat offenders.
  3. Adjusting existing laws and the justice system to provide more help for victims which would involve the amendment of the laws that protected victims’ rights and welfare and measures to provide severer disciplinary action against government officials who committed sexual harassment.

“This action plan will support the 12 measures to prevent and mitigate sexual harassment at workplaces that the government already approved and Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha had instructed agencies to strictly follow these measures in order to severely deal and deterred perpetrators and provide victims with swift justice,” Ratchada said.

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