The Equal Opportunities Commission conducted the first-ever “Territory-wide Representative Survey on Sexual Harassment in Hong Kong 2021” between March and June last year.

A total of 5,027 respondents aged between 18 and 64, including local residents and foreign domestic helpers were interviewed on phone.

Among the 4,689 respondents who surfed the Internet in the last two years, around one in six of them, or 17.8 percent, reported to have been sexually harassed online. About 18 percent of men claimed to have experienced online sexual harassment, while only 17 percent of women said so.

The commission also noted the respondents are more likely to suffer sexual harassment online if they are younger. About 23 percent of victims are aged between 18 and 34, followed by the age group of 35 to 49 at 16.4 percent and that of 50 to 64 at 14 percent.

The most common forms of online sexual harassment included “receiving indecent photos or videos online” at 55.8 percent, “receiving sexually suggestive messages online” at 47.1 percent and “someone made sexually suggestive comments or jokes to you” at 26.7 percent.

Meanwhile, 11.8 percent of 3928 respondents, or one in every eight, said they have been sexually harassed at work in the last two years.

Women were significantly more likely to have been sexually harassed at work, with the ratios standing at 14.6 percent for women and 8.8 percent for men.

Young women aged between 18 and 34 were 22.5 percent likely to be sexually harassed at work, twice the average chances of 11.8 percent for the overall sample size.

The common form of workplace sexual harassment was sexually suggestive comments or jokes. Over 60 percent of the 463 victims said someone at work made sexually suggestive comments or jokes to others in their presence and made them feel uncomfortable.

The commission advised employers to encourage potential victims to be assertive and to develop a clear corporate anti-sexual harassment policy. Staff should receive regular awareness training as well, according to the commission.