Schools have a duty to intervene in sexual harassment and create a culture where harassment is not acceptable


Sexual harassment and gender-based harassment at educational institutions

Sexual harassment experienced by youths is prevalent. The percentage of young people in Finland who have experienced sexual harassment one or repeatedly is...*

  • 61% of girls in lower secondary school *
     
  • 46% of boys in lower secondary school *
     
  • over 80% of transgender youth has experiences harassment. **
     

* Student health survey by the National Institute for Health and Welfare 2013.
** Alanko 2013.
 

The school has the duty to intervene in cases of harassment

The Equality Act prohibits sexual and gender-based harassment in educational institutions. However, the educational institution or other community's responsibility only begins when a responsible representative of the institution has been informed of the harassment. The educational institution or community then has a duty to undertake measures to eliminate the harassment. The actions of the educational institution or community are considered prohibited discrimination if they do not take the steps available to prevent that the harassment continues.

The educational institution or community will also be liable for compensation if the perpetrator is a single teacher or student. If the perpetrator is, for example, the headmaster of the educational institution or a person in a corresponding position, who is in charge of leading the community offering education and tuition, it will be considered that the harassment was known to the educational institution or community without a separate notification.

All educational institutions have the duty to intervene in sexual harassment.