Criminal Law
Last updated December, 2014

In partnership with UN Women, The Advocates for Human Rights created the following sections for UN Women’s Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls. This section, along with sections addressing other forms of violence against women and girls, may be found under Legislation at


Overview and Workplace Sexual Harassment as a Crime
Some countries have criminalized certain forms of sexual harassment. Criminal legislation has been directed particularly at quid pro quo harassment and harassment that results in some form of sexual assault. Clearly rape and assault are appropriate subjects of criminal law. (See also Criminal Law in Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault sections)
Criminal laws against sexual harassment should:
  • Provide dissuasive penalties for perpetrators;
  • Minimize barriers to victims coming forward to report cases;
  • Include provision and funding for victim support services;
  • Include provisions to require and fund training of police, prosecutors, and judges; and
  • Require data collection and regular reporting on cases of sexual harassment.