European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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30 August 2017

Belgium: one in three female cleaning staff sexually harassed

According to a survey carried out by the Belgian trade union confederation ACV/CSC and published in late June, one third of all women working in the cleaning sector or as home helps in Belgium have experienced sexual harassment at work on at least one occasion. In most cases, the harassment was of a verbal nature, but physical contact took place in 37% of cases.

Most instances of harassment were one-off events, but 5% of respondents reported being placed in situations which made them feel uncomfortable on a regular or even systematic basis. The perpetrators were clients in 82% of cases, and committed the acts of harassment either in their own homes or in enclosed spaces such as hotel rooms.

The after-effects most frequently reported by victims included anxiety (28% of respondents), insomnia (25%) and reduced productivity at work (24%), as well as negative impacts on their relationship with their partner.

One in four victims felt unable to report the harassment, either for fear of losing their jobs, out of feelings of shame or because they thought it would be pointless.

Source: CSC

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