5 November 2022
Bophana Center Statement on Allegations of Sexual Harassment
The Bophana Center has investigated recent allegations of sexual harassment against two members of its staff and has terminated the contracts of both individuals. “Bophana Centre does not tolerate any forms of sexual harassment or other types of discrimination,” said Director Chea Sopheap. “We are grateful to the victims whose courage brought these issues to light.”
Bophana first became aware of the allegations of sexual harassment against a female filmmaking trainee via a program partner on Wednesday, 26 October, 2022 and, on that date, the Center immediately undertook an investigation of the facts. This was followed by a reporter from a media outlet on Tuesday, 1 November contacting the center, that alleged there had been sexual harassment against three trainees and the Center expanded its investigation to include these additional allegations. The investigation concluded on Friday, 4 November. The investigation’s findings upheld the allegations made by the complainants and Bophana dismissed both of the employees responsible for the harassment that same day.
Bophana profoundly regrets the considerable pain caused to the trainees affected and extends to them an unequivocal apology. Bophana’s leadership and all its staff recognise the trainees’ harrowing experiences as a call to action for the organisation to ensure that it lives up to its values of inclusivity and diversity. Although many steps have been taken ahead of projects with our partners and donors to prevent such situations, monitoring can always be improved.
Bophana is now undertaking a series of measures to strengthen its culture and ensure the safety and wellbeing of its trainees. The Center will:
- – Commission an independent, third party, evaluator to review its existing policies and procedures to counter sexual harassment and to assess the organisation’s culture. The evaluation will make recommendations on how these can be strengthened.
- – Devise a new policy and protocol on whistle-blower protection, in line with international best practice, in order to ensure the protection of any member of the community who comes forward with information or allegations regarding misconduct.
- – Roll out a revised programme of training for its staff on Prevention of Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment and a new training programme on inclusion in the workplace.
- – Expand and reinforce Bophana’s Human Resources Department and provide it with an explicit mandate to lead the development of the organisation’s culture.
- – Undertake a comprehensive survey of staff and students and partners to elicit anonymous feedback on their experience of working and studying at the Center.
“Bophana is committed to building a diverse and inclusive film industry in Cambodia,” said Chea Sopheap. “We recognise that we have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for the next generation of Cambodian filmmakers to develop their skills and talents, and to play our part in changing the culture of our sector. When selecting candidates for film trainings, Bophana is committed to create a balanced group of voices, in good accordance with our partners diversity principles as to provide opportunity for women’s expression.”
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