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Emma Watson launches legal advice hotline for workplace harassment

Emma Watson. (Photo by DVT/Star Max/GC Images)

Harry Potter actress Emma Watson has helped launch a legal advice hotline for women experiencing sexual harasment at work in England and Wales.

With Watson’s backing, the new helpline launched by UK charity Rights of Women aims to help women obtain legal advice so they can get the help they need in order to hold their employer and the harasser to account.

“Understanding what your rights are, how you can assert them and the choices you have if you’ve experienced harassment is such a vital part of creating safe workplaces for everyone, and this advice line is such a huge development in ensuring that all women are supported, wherever we work,” Watson said as reported in The Guardian UK.

The advice line will be funded by public donations (with Watson among them), managed by Rosa, the UK Fund for Women and Girls, while the advice will be provided by Rights of Women.

Even though workplace sexual harassment had reached “epidemic levels,” it remained a hidden problem, said Rights of Women senior legal officer Deeba Syed.

“By advising women about their legal options and increasing their understanding of equalities and discrimination law, we will be able to help them make informed choices about next steps, including how to navigate the legal system with confidence,” she said.

“We know that complaints of sexual harassment at work are still frequently responded to in a gendered manner that is negative, undermining or can lead to victimisation.”

Women in the UK can reach the hotline at 020 7490 0152.

Sexual harassment in the workplace: Australia

According to 2018 statistics by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), 85 per cent of Australian women have been sexually harassed at some point in their lifetime.

If you are experiencing harassment in the workplace, you can get help. The Fair Work Ombudsman website has details about how to get assistance, and you could also make a complaint to the AHRC.

There are also a number of hotlines you can reach out to:

  • National sexual assault support hotline: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

  • Personal crisis support and suicide prevention Lifeline: 13 11 14

  • Mental health support service Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636

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