Emma Watson has helped launch a legal advice helpline for women who are dealing with sexual harassment at work. According to The Independent, the helpline has been co-signed by Times Up UK, an organisation which insists on justice and equality for all women. It will be managed by Rosa, the only UK-wide charitable fund for women and girls. Pledges from the public and Watson herself helped the line become a reality.
The actor and activist discussed the launch, saying: "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."
The hope is that the helpline ultimately increases visibility for women in the workplace who are dealing with sexual harassment and that it will encourage employers to take action when faced with a complaint. Watson went on to say that it was "staggering" that the helpline will be the first of its kind for England and Wales.
When women from the UK dial the hotline on 020 7490 0152, they'll receive advice from a member of Rights of Women, a charity that provides women with legal advice to help them better understand the law and their rights.
The Guardian reported that the senior legal officer for Rights of Women, Deeba Syed, said workplace sexual harassment had reached "epidemic levels" and that now is the time to speak up. "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. That is why Rights of Women will also work towards dismantling the underlying structural problems that puts the burden on victims and makes it difficult for women to come forward through its policy work."
If you have experienced any sexual assault at work or are looking for legal advice, please call the helpline on 020 7490 0152.