§ Ms Beverley Hughes
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans the Government have to tackle the problems of(a) sexual harassment and (b) women's safety in public places. 
§ Ms Jowell
The Government take the issue of sexual harassment and women's safety in public places very seriously.
In employment law it is well established that sexual harassment constitutes a form of detriment under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. In addition an Equal Opportunities Commission Code of Practice includes recommendations on how employers can prevent sexual harassment. The Department for Education and Employment has also published leaflets for employers and employees on how to deal with the issue.
In criminal law, the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 makes it an offence for a person to pursue a course 351W of conduct that they know, or ought to have known, causes another harassment. It carries a maximum sentence of six months imprisonment. A person found guilty of this offence can be made the subject of a restraining order which will prohibit further harassment.
Under section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986 (inserted by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994) it is an offence intentionally to behave in a way which is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. In addition, section 5 of the 1986 Act makes it an offence to behave in a way which is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress, even when no intent is involved.
On women's safety in public places, the booklet "Your Practical Guide to Crime Prevention" published in 1998 and available from police crime prevention officers, includes advice to women on minimising the risk of assault.
In a statement to the House on 16 March 1999, Official Report, columns 902–14, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary gave details of an additional £150 million being allocated over 3 years to boost crime prevention in areas to which the public have access and where crime is highest. This will help improve women's safety in public places.
The Government are publishing a document in June which will cover all forms of violence against women.