Photo: State Chancellery

The Ministry of Justice is currently actively working on the development of a regulation to ensure the safety and protection of Latvian citizens against sexual harassment. The Minister of Justice Inese Lībiņa-Egnere is proposing to introduce criminal liability for sexual harassment, so that victims of violence can receive the support and protection they need.

Sexual harassment is a violation of human dignity. It may take many forms - it can be verbal, non-verbal and physical sexual conduct, it can be carried out using different communication channels, including the digital environment. The Ministry of Justice believes that the legal framework needs to be improved to ensure effective protection against sexual violence, i.e. to prevent sexual harassment and to establish appropriate and adequate liability for its perpetration in any form.

Minister of Justice Inese Lībiņa-Egnere emphasises: "No person should experience sexual harassment, let alone at work or in an educational institution - a place that should be safe. Harassment is not always physically violent, but can also include inappropriate language, invasion of personal space and psychological coercion. Moreover, such humiliation of women is often not properly investigated. This creates a feeling of impunity. We can do better as a society and as a country to prevent bullying and harassment of fellow human beings. That is why we are currently working to criminalise sexual harassment. It is time to take women's voices seriously - every employer has a responsibility to create a safe environment and to eradicate a work culture that treats such incidents with incomprehensible tolerance. Harassment is not flattery, it is a serious problem that needs to be addressed just as seriously."

The Ministry of Justice is currently preparing a draft submission to the Saeima, while involving legal experts and NGO’s in the process. The prepared proposals are planned to be adjoined with the already existing  amendments to the Criminal code currently within its 2nd reading.