Street harassment could soon be fined by up to €350

Street harassment is deemed to include inappropriate gestures, “wolf-whistling”, and obscene remarks

Street harassment could soon be punished by fines of between €90 and €350, if a government proposal goes ahead.

Harassment that is deemed to have “a sexual or sexist character” in a public place would be subject to an immediate fine under “sexual outrage” terms proposed by five ministers, including Marlène Schiappa, the secretary of state for equality between men and women, explains France Info.

In the proposal, the ministers define sexual harassment as: “The imposition, in the public space, of any sexist or sexual discourse, degrading or humiliating in nature, which is prejudicial to the dignity of a person, group of persons, or groups of persons; which creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive situation against them.”

This could include inappropriate gestures, “wolf-whistling” - defined as shouting or whistling at someone in the street in a sexual or innuendo-laden way - and obscene remarks.

Perpetrators would need to be caught red-handed in the moment by police, who would have the power to hand out the fines.

Immediate payment would be set at €90, rising to €200 for payment within 15 days, and €350 thereafter.

Further penalties would be due in case of “aggravating circumstances”, including if the perpetrator has any kind of public authority, or if the harassment is perpetrated by a gang or a group.

Perpetrators of street harassment would also be required to take part in a course designed to educate them on male-female equality, the proposals explain.

The plans also suggest extra training for the police force and security services, to ensure that they are alert to this kind of offence, and able to recognise even subtle signs.

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