Emma Watson’s new sexual harassment helpline will provide free legal advice for women all over the UK.
Emma Watson has long used her internationally-reaching celebrity platform to speak out on important issues. And in her latest move to champion women’s rights, the Time’s Up UK activist is working to ensure women across the UK know their rights when it comes to experiences of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Thanks to a new advice line funded by donations from members of the public and Watson herself, women across the UK will be able to access free legal advice when it comes to fighting and reporting workplace sexual harassment.
The line, which is backed by Time’s Up UK’s justice and equality fund and managed by Rosa, a charitable fund which provides financial support for female-focused initiatives across the UK, aims to help women understand the choices they have if faced with an experience of sexual harassment, and hopes to play a role in creating safer workplaces for everyone.
The advice line is being managed by women’s charity Rights of Women, and will give employment legal advice on topics including identifying sexual harassment, how to bring a complaint against an employer, the Employment Tribunal procedure and Settlement/Non-Disclosure agreements.
Unfortunately, it’s desperately needed. According to research from the Trades Union Congress (TUC), as many as one in two women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace - and that number increases to nearly two thirds when taking into account the experiences of women aged 18-24.
Defined as “unwanted behaviour of a sexual nature” which violates your dignity, makes you feel intimidated, degraded or humiliated or creates a hostile or offensive environment, sexual harassment often remains unreported - a 2017 survey for BBC Radio 5 Live found that 63% of women who said they had been harassed at work didn’t report it to anyone.
Watson hopes the advice line will give women the confidence and knowledge to deal with experiences of sexual harassment in the workplace.
“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,” she told The Guardian.
The line is currently open on Mondays between the hours of 6pm-8pm and Tuesdays 5pm-7pm, although more opening hours will be released soon.
The advice line number is 020 7490 0152.