Egypt's Women Council offers legal support to sexual harassment victims during Eid

Ahram Online , Sunday 11 Sep 2016

The National Council for Women is launching hotlines to receive complaints from sexual harassment victims and offer legal aid

Sexual harassment protest
File photo of "Egyptian women will live with dignity" - women at recent protest against sexual assaults in Cairo in 2013. (Photo: Mai Shaheen)

Egypt's National Council for Women (NCW) is launching operation rooms to receive complaints of sexual harassment and offer legal aid to victims during Eid Al-Adha, as the annual holiday often witnesses a surge in reported harassment.

The semi-governmental council said in an official statement Saturday that council lawyers would accompany police officers responding to reports of harassment incidents during the four-day Eid to offer legal support for victims wishing to press charges. This is in the framework of the NCW’s ongoing cooperation with the interior ministry’s violence against women unit.

Sexual harassment was first criminalised in Egypt in 2014, with violators facing minimum jail terms of six months and/or fines of EGP 3,000 to EGP 5,000, with harassment defined as using physical, verbal or electronic communication, or any other action, that carries sexual or pornographic connotations.

The majority of Egyptian women report suffering some form of street harassment on a daily basis, according to UN figures.

In recent years, female police officers have been deployed by the interior ministry on the streets to confront sexual harassment during Eid.

Eid Al-Adha, one of two major holidays observed annually by Muslims worldwide, will begin on Monday 12 September.

The NCW is receiving complaints during the holiday at the following hotlines: 01205575331, 01121997477, 01007525600, or by email at [email protected].

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