The Street Harassment Prevention Act of 2018 (SHPA), is a first of its kind legal measure in the United States that: (1) creates a legal definition of street harassment; (2) establishes a community-based Advisory Committee to study street harassment and develop model policies and trainings; and (3) requires a public information campaign on street harassment. It was designed to uniquely focus on prevention through education instead of criminalization.
What is the definition of Street Harassment?
Street harassment is any disrespectful, offensive or threatening statements, gestures or other conduct directed at an individual in a high-risk area without the individual’s consent and based on the individual’s actual or perceived protected trait identified in the DC Human Rights Act of 1977.
What is a high-risk area?
A high-risk area includes all public spaces and entities outside of a private residence. These areas include but are not limited to the following:
- Enclosed area within any Metrorail car, Metrobus, MetroAccess vehicle, DC Circulator bus, DC Streetcar or any other commerical vehicle capacle of carryying more than 6 passengers;
- Food service entity;
- Any school, library or other building primarily used for instruction of students;
- Any bank, health care facility, laundromat, retail store, shopping mall, sports arena, music venue and theater;
- All publicly-owned property, including any roadway, sidewalk or parking lot; and
- All buildings or land owned, leased or occupied by District government.
For an overview of the law, download the Street Harassment Prevention Act of 2018 overview (PDF).