Taiwan Reinforces Protections from Sexual Misconduct on Campus

On July 28, 2023, Taiwan’s legislature enacted a bill amending the Gender Equity Education Act following a series of high profile #MeToo cases in Taiwan. The amendments are intended to reinforce members of campus communities from sexual misconduct with more robust legal protections. The act now applies to all public and private educational institutions regardless of level (e.g., elementary, secondary, tertiary). In addition, the Act's regulatory scheme has been extended to cover military schools and the police academies.

The amended Act strengthens the existing reporting requirement. Anyone responsible for school operations must report a suspected ‘campus sexual incident’ to the authorities within 24 hours of becoming aware of it. Campus sexual incidents that trigger this reporting obligation include sexual assaults, sexual harassment, sexual bullying, or unethical conduct involving a principal, faculty member, staff employee, or a student. Unethical conduct includes any relationship with a minor student. Failure to report a campus sexual incident will result in administrative fines and other penalties.

Victims of campus sexual incidents have the right to file complaints with their school. In response, a special committee is required to be convened to investigate and render a decision on the complaint. The victim may file an appeal if they disagree with the committee's decision.

In addition, the victim has the option to concurrently file a civil action in the courts against the person(s) alleged to have engaged in sexual misconduct. The amended Act permits the court to award compensatory damages and other remedies. In particular, enhanced compensatory damages are available depending on the defendant’s role at the school. In the case of a school principal (or equivalent), the court may treble or quintuple the actual damages.
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