Since November 13th, ride-sharing company, Uber’s sexual harassment prevention tools have expanded and now includes a new guide for tracking potentially dangerous incidents. The report is a joint effort with the National Sexual Violence Research Centre (NSVRC), and outlines 21 different classifications defining sexual harassment, misconduct, and assault. The new groupings were commissioned in order to identify sexual violence, and how it will be defined and dealt with moving forward, as reported by CNN.
According to news giant, CNN, major ride-sharing company, Uber recently agreed to release the report in response to reports of recent alleged sexual harassment and assault cases. In a previous investigation that included a number of police reports and public records, CNN reported that at least 103 Uber drivers were accused of sexual assault or abuse in the past four years. ABC News notes that Uber’s NSVRC partnership is an effort to improve trust with the public when it comes to the company’s handling and honesty when dealing with cases of alleged sexual harassment.
“You’ve probably heard ‘do the right thing’, which we’ve really made an organising principle for everything in the company,” Uber’s chief legal officer, Tony West, said at a press event on Nov. 12, according to ABC. “I’ve talked about the importance of acting with transparency, integrity, and accountability in everything we do,” he said. “We believe if we improve the safety of the platform for women, we can do it for everybody.”
Interestingly, according to Fortune, the ride-sharing company has stated that they will aim to use the new taxonomy of sexual offences to more effectively and quickly track incidents allegedly committed during rides.
In 2017, Uber pledged to use over $5 million over the next five years to seven organisations that work to prevent sexual assaults, including Raliance, the National Network to End Domestic Violence and NO MORE – a move aimed at helping the ride-hailing service combat its own problems as well as society as a whole. The world’s largest ride-hailing company stated that the money will help the organisations fund their own programs as well train 150 of Uber’s customer service agents as part of a new team to deal with sexual assault reports, including how to interview people reporting improper conduct. A notion that is clearly in place, as little as two years into the five year timeline.
Raliance spokeswoman, Kristen Houser praised the company, saying that it’s a rare move for big firms to recognise sexual violence prevention. “[Uber is] no different than the NFL or any other company that has a wakeup or realisation about how seriously things can impact people’s lives and your business,” said Houser.
The new guidelines now clarify the extent and actions of sexual abuse terms, due to the severity of so many cases going unreported, due to only being explained as minimised or misunderstood. “No one set of terms or language mean the same thing to everybody,” Fortune wrote, so the new set of guidelines can help define these incidents in an objective way, making it easier to track and ultimately prevent these kinds of unfortunate incidents while using the service.
“We think it’s very, very important to allow survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment the control and agency that was, frankly, stripped from them in that incident,” West told CNN. “Uber is voluntarily addressing such issues on their platform, while colleges and universities are federally mandated to do so,” Uber said in a press release published on Nov. 12.
“We’re sharing this full taxonomy today with the hope this will inform safety strategies for any company that brings people together in the real world so we can all take more action to help end sexual violence,” West and Kristen Houser, the NSVRC’s chief public affairs officer, wrote in the statement.