IPS Conference on Harassment in Singapore: Realities, Conundrums and Approaches Moving Ahead


The Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) is holding a conference to identify, address and tackle the issue of harassment in our society. It will be held on Monday, 18 November 2013.

Harassment generally refers to conduct which is unwanted by the victim and which causes the victim alarm, distress or emotional disturbance. It can take place anywhere, anytime, and through any medium. Harassment can happen at the workplace, in school, or even at home, to both adults and children.

At the workplace, customers and clients may threaten, abuse or insult front-line employees in the course of their work. Beyond the negative effect on employees’ personal well-being, harassment can also affect the company’s day-to-day operations. Bullying also takes place in school and the effects of bullying among youths and children can be serious. A 2012 Microsoft survey ranked Singapore as second highest among 25 countries, after China, for cyber-bullying among youths and children.

Technological advancements and the Internet have created a new public space with features distinct from the real world. These features aggravate the effects of anti-social behavior committed online. Countries around the world are grappling to address this Internet phenomenon with the appropriate legislative response. Different jurisdictions have either implemented new legislation or amended existing ones to cover online communication that is threatening, grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or knowingly false.

In Singapore, the Defamation Act protects individuals from libel, slander and malicious falsehoods, while the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act targets threatening, abusive or insulting words and behavior. However, existing laws are inadequate to tackle cyber harassment as the latter Act only applies to acts committed in the physical sphere.

To aid the Government in policy-formulation, IPS is organizing a conference featuring domain experts who will address harassment that takes place in various contexts. There will also be a dialogue session with the Guest-of-Honour, Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law.

The conference will involve industry experts, educators, academics, representatives of non-governmental and voluntary organizations, the media and policymakers.




Report on Conference on Harassment in Singapore: Realities, Conundrums and Approaches Moving Ahead



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Monday, 18 November 2013
8.30 am – 4.30 pm