In a new report released on Nov. 13, ride-sharing company Uber's sexual harassment prevention tools now includes a new guide for tracking incidents. The report is a joint effort with the National Sexual Violence Research Center (NSVRC), and outlines 21 different classifications defining sexual harassment, misconduct, and assault. The new groupings were commissioned in order to identify sexual violence, and how it will be defined and dealt with moving forward, according to CNN.
CNN writes that Uber agreed to release the report in response to reports of recent alleged sexual harassment and assault cases. In a previous investigation comprised of police reports and public records, CNN reported that at least 103 Uber drivers were accused of sexual assault or abuse in the past four years. ABC News notes that Uber’s NSVRC partnership is an effort to improve trust with the public when it comes to the company's handling of alleged sexual harassment.
“You’ve probably heard ‘do the right thing’, which we’ve really made an organizing principle for everything in the company,” Uber’s chief legal officer, Tony West, said at a press event on Nov. 12, according to ABC. “I’ve talked about the importance of acting with transparency, integrity, and accountability in everything we do,” he said. “We believe if we improve the safety of the platform for women, we can do it for everybody.”
Fortune reports that the ride-sharing company aims to use the new taxonomy of sexual offenses to more effectively track incidents allegedly committed during rides. The new guide, according to Fortune, is a much needed clarification of sexual abuse terms, since so many cases go unreported and are often minimized or misunderstood. “No one set of terms or language mean the same thing to everybody," Fortune wrote, so the new set of guidelines can help define these incidents in an objective way, making it easier to track and ultimately prevent these kinds of incidents.
“We think it’s very, very important to allow survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment the control and agency that was, frankly, stripped from them in that incident,” West told CNN.
“Uber is voluntarily addressing such issues on their platform, while colleges and universities are federally mandated to do so,” Uber said in a press release published on Nov. 12. “We’re sharing this full taxonomy today with the hope this will inform safety strategies for any company that brings people together in the real world so we can all take more action to help end sexual violence,” West and Kristen Houser, the NSVRC's chief public affairs officer, wrote in the statement.
The 53-page taxonomy was written by NSVRC and the Urban Institute, CNN says. Uber chose to partner with these organizations — who work directly with sexual violence survivors — because of their expertise in collecting sex crime data. The full report is slated to roll out in 2019, according to CNN. While many have criticized the popular ride-sharing platform for its lack of transparency regarding sexual abuse that happened on its watch in the past, the new guide may help to remedy that, CNN notes.