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Emma Watson helps launch anti-harassment line

The new advice line is managed by Rosa, which is the UK Fund for Women and Girls and offers advice provided by Rights of Women, a charity which aims to legally help women dealing with unwanted attention.

FILE: British actress Emma Watson. Picture: AFP.

LONDON - Emma Watson has helped launch a legal advice line for women who are suffering from sexual harassment at work.

The new advice line is managed by Rosa, which is the UK Fund for Women and Girls and offers advice provided by Rights of Women, a charity which aims to legally help women dealing with unwanted attention.

In a statement supporting the service, the Harry Potter star said: "It finally feels like people are realising the scale of the problem, and I'm certainly hopeful that with global standards such as the recent International Labour Organisation treaty on harassment at work, we'll start to see a new climate of prevention and accountability on this issue domestically."

The 29-year-old actress - who helped launch the UN Women campaign 'HeForShe' - admitted she found it completely staggering that the free helpline was the only service of its type that existed in England and Wales.

According to research done by the Trades Union Congress, one in two women experience sexual harassment at work at some point in their lives.

The activist-and-actress said: "Understanding what your rights are, how you can assert them, and the choices you have if you've experienced harassment is such a vital part of creating safe workplaces for everyone, and this advice line is such a huge development in ensuring that all women are supported, wherever we work."

The advice line was kick-started thanks to donations from Watson and members of the public and was also backed by the Time's Up UK Justice and Equality Fund.

Advice is provided from the professionals at Rights of Women, a charity which aides women through the law.

Rights of Women's senior legal officer Deeba Syed claimed workplace harassment on women had reached "epidemic levels" despite being very well hidden.

She said: "This advice line's purpose is to empower women to exercise their legal rights in the workplace. By advising women about their legal options and increasing their understanding of equalities and discrimination law, we will be able to help them make informed choices about next steps, including how to navigate the legal system with confidence.

"Rights of Women will also work towards dismantling the underlying structural problems that puts the burden on victims and makes it difficult for women to come forward through its policy work."

The helpline hoped it could assist vulnerable women who needed legal information as well as give vulnerable women the confidence to call out harassment.

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