New Task Force Aims To Stop Sexual Misconduct During Flights
By Sharelle Burt
The Department of Transportation has created a new task force to stop sexual misconduct during flights.
DOT Secretary Elaine L. Chao announced the new task force last Thursday as part of the Aviation Consumer Protection Advisory Committee. “The task force will review current practices, protocols and requirements of U.S. airlines in responding to and reporting allegations of sexual misconduct by passengers on board aircraft,” a DOT statement read. President Trump signed guidelines in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 in October.
The task force will provide recommendations on how to report sexual misconduct allegations and will train airline employees. The FBI revealed that sexual misconduct reports have 66 percent between 2014 and 2017, with 63 open sexual assault cases last year. “The number of sexual assaults reported during commercial airline flights is increasing “at an alarming rate,” the FBI said in June.
A CNN report revealed that it is difficult to determine just how frequent these assaults are happening specifically on commercial flights because no federal regulatory agency is tracking the data nationwide. Close to 20 percent of flight attendants have reported being harassed by passengers while on the job. A member of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA union said her employer never provided sexual harassment training for her team.
Last month celebrated the one-year anniversary of the #MeToo movement, sparking significant conversation on a national scale surrounding sexual misconduct in numerous industries. In August, two men who were accused of sexually assaulting fellow passengers were charged. One man was accused of groping a sleeping woman and the other allegedly used his position in an outside seat to force himself on another passenger.
The new task force will have their first meeting in January to discuss details that the task force should focus on.