Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Royal Caribbean leading way on sexual assault safety; is it enough?

Royal Caribbean earned the first-ever best practices certification from the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN). They are the only cruise line to go this far in ensuring safe and appropriate responses to sexual assaults at sea. The company deserves commendation for their progressive stance on the issue. However, is certification enough? Can Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines do more to prevent the crimes and keep their passengers safe?

According to Skift, the RAINN certification involves 11 key areas. Some focus on prevention and training, while others deal with post-assault victim support. Even prior to the certification, Royal Caribbean reported better sexual assault statistics than other cruise lines. But there are two areas where all cruise lines seem exposed. The first is alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a significant factor in many cruise-related injuries and crimes. Even with stricter policies and better awareness from servers and bartenders, there will be plenty of men and women impaired onboard. Some of these people will inevitably be involved in sexual assaults.

The other factor overlooked, but that has been a hot button on Cruise Law News, is screening and punishing crew. Many of the assaults are crew on passenger. Training is obviously important with this as is enhanced security and key access. But the background screening can be an issue. The criminal record systems in some of the countries from which the crews are hired are not always as thorough as in they are in the United States. Plenty of offenders have and will continue to slip through the cracks until better hiring practices are in place. If the cruise lines really want to address sexual assault, it will need to improve their hiring background checks.

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