Throughout this knowledge module, reference to certain provisions or sections of a piece of legislation, part of a legal judgment, or aspect of a practice does not imply that the legislation, judgment, or practice is considered in its entirety to be a good example or a promising practice.

Some of the laws cited herein may contain provisions which authorize the death penalty. In light of the United Nations General Assembly resolutions 62/14963/16865/206, and 67/176 calling for a moratorium on and ultimate abolition of capital punishment, the death penalty should not be included in sentencing provisions for crimes of violence against women and girls.

Other Provisions Related to Domestic Violence LawsResources for Developing Legislation on Domestic Violence
Sexual Harassment in Sport Tools for Drafting Sexual Harassment Laws and Policies
Immigration Provisions Resources for developing legislation on sex trafficking of women and girls
Child Protection Provisions Resources on Forced and Child Marriage
Other provisions related to dowry-related and domestic violence laws
Related Tools

Overview and Core Elements of Sexual Harassment Laws in the Housing/ Accommodation Context

Last edited: January 13, 2011

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Sexual harassment can have severe negative impacts on the rights of women to live in safe, affordable housing. The right to choose housing also impacts other aspects of a woman’s life, such as her ability to get safely to and from her place of employment, the schools her children attend, as well as access to goods and services in her neighborhood.

Core Elements of Sexual Harassment Laws in the Housing/ Accommodation Context

Laws related to sexual harassment in housing should:

  • Recognize sexual harassment in housing as a form of discrimination;
  • Make it unlawful to condition access to or retention of housing or housing-related services or transactions on sexual conduct or favors; and
  • Make it unlawful for a housing provider and associated employees and agents to engage in sexual or sex-based behavior that makes the housing environment offensive or significantly less desirable.

Sexual harassment laws in this context should also follow the general principles on sexual harassment laws. The Caribbean Community Secretariat has promulgated model legislation relative to sexual harassment which includes a prohibition of sexual harassment in accommodation. Specifically, the model law states:

It is unlawful for a person to make it reasonably appear to another person that

(1)  the terms on which the first-mentioned person offers the other person accommodation;

(2)  the first-mentioned person’s acceptance of the other person’s application for accommodation;

(3)  the time of processing of the other person’s application for accommodation, or the order of precedence of the other person or any list of applicants for that accommodation;

(4)  the other person’s access or the extent of such access to any benefit connected with the accommodation;

(5)  the failure to evict the other person or to subject that other person to any other detriment in relation to the accommodation, is or are contingent on that other person’s acceptance of sexual advances or toleration of persistent sexual suggestions or innuendo from the first-mentioned person.

(See: CARICOM Model Legislation on Sexual Harassment, clause 5)

Many countries’ anti-discrimination laws also prohibit discrimination in accommodation, which include a prohibition of sexual harassment. Benin’s 2006 law prohibits sexual harassment no matter where it takes place. Ireland’s and Mauritius’ laws prohibit any form of discrimination in accommodation, among other realms. Malta’s law states that:

Persons responsible for… any establishment at which goods, services or accommodation facilities are offered to the public, shall not permit other persons who have a right to be present in, or to avail themselves of any facility, goods or service provided at that place, to suffer sexual harassment at that place.
(See: Equality for Men and Women Act, Art. 9(2)(a))