Safer Streets campaign makes it clear there is No Excuse for sexual violence this Freshers’ Week18.09.23 - Merseyside
A campaign making it clear there is No Excuse for sexual violence will go live across the region again as thousands of students arrive and return for the start of the academic year.
Safer Streets Merseyside is an awareness-raising campaign focused on preventing sexual violence particularly in the night-time economy and the public transport – two areas women highlighted as of being particular concern.
It focuses on identifying and calling out unacceptable and harmful behaviours and making it clear there is a zero-tolerance approach to sexual violence in Merseyside, while also encouraging anyone who has been affected by sexual violence to reach out for support.
Over the next month, campaign messaging will be featured prominently in areas of student accommodation, around the universities, in the city centre, across the transport network and in popular student bars. Artwork will also be going up in areas surrounding other educational centres across the region, such as Wirral Met, St Helens College and Hugh Baird College.
A giant ad-van will also carry the message targeted at potential perpetrators and highlighting there is no excuse for behaviours such as catcalling and unwanted sexual comments, groping and uninvited touching.
The powerful visual marketing campaign is supported by a range of proactive initiatives all designed to tackle sexual violence, including students from Liverpool John Moores University being trained as ‘guardians’ to provide support to those who need it in Liverpool’s night-time economy, such as helping people get home or providing emotional support.
Safer Streets Merseyside has already seen 33 extra high visibility CCTV cameras installed in the city centre, at transport hubs and along key bus routes used by students and other young people to head into and out of the city centre at night. There has also been an increased uniformed police presence in transport hubs and along Liverpool’s dedicated student bus routes and into the night-time economy at peak times on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as dedicated student event nights.
Led by Merseyside’s Police Commissioner, Emily Spurrell, and Liverpool City Council, Safer Streets Merseyside is funded by the Home Office and was developed following a survey by the Police Commissioner which showed 54% of women felt unsafe using public transport in Merseyside at night and nearly 42% had concerns about using it in the day.
The campaign was developed following extensive consultation with stakeholders, those using public transport, student groups and young people.
It has been supported by a wide range of partners including Merseyside Police, RASA Merseyside, the Merseyside Violence Reduction Partnership, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, Liverpool John Moores University and Culture Liverpool, as well as the region’s four other local authorities.
This campaign is an integral part of the Police Commissioner’s region-wide VAWG Delivery Plan which sets out a clear ambition to protect women and girls who live, work and visit Merseyside, prevent violence and pursue offenders.
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “There is No Excuse for sexual violence and it’s important we take a proactive approach to tackling this issue. As tens of thousands of students arrive and return to our region, I want to reassure them that we take their safety very seriously and we will not tolerate sexual violence of any kind.
“Catcalling and unwanted sexual comments, taking explicit images without consent, groping and uninvited touching – these are all forms of sexual violence that no girls or woman should have to endure.
“Our campaign is designed to challenge would-be perpetrators and make it clear that we take a zero-tolerance approach to these utterly unacceptable and harmful behaviours, while also supporting women to get support if they’ve been affected.
“Critically, Safer Streets Merseyside is also working to change attitudes and mindsets. By engaging with the next generation, we’re starting conversations early that are focused on encouraging long-term behaviour change.”
Councillor Laura Robertson-Collins, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “We have thousands of female students arriving in the city this month and this campaign is designed to be very clear that there should be zero tolerance of sexual violence towards women and girls.
“It is vital we give those affected the ability to report it quickly and easily, and also for others to have the confidence to know that it must be challenged.
“This is all part of our commitment to work with partners to tackle these issues and change the behaviour of those who don’t show respect and safety for women.”
Chief Superintendent Ngaire Waine, Head of Investigations, Protecting Vulnerable People, Merseyside Police said: “As we welcome students back to Merseyside, I want to reassure them that, together with our partners, we will continue to make our streets safer for women and girls. I also want to send a clear message to perpetrators that there is no excuse for sexual violence and harassment and unacceptable behaviours will not be tolerated.
“I hope that the measures put in place as part of this campaign help to improve feelings of safety for all women and girls across Merseyside.”
About Safer Streets Merseyside
First launched in March 2022, the campaign is delivering:
- A ‘guardian project’, with LJMU student volunteers trained to provide support to those who need it in Liverpool’s night-time economy, such as helping people get home or providing emotional support.
- Enhanced high visibility CCTV coverage along key bus routes used by students and other young people to head into and out of the city centre at night.
- The creation of ‘safe space’ at each of the bus stations for anyone who feels vulnerable within travel centres at each of the bus stations.
- An increased uniformed police presence in transport hubs and along Liverpool’s dedicated student bus routes and into the night-time economy at peak times on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as dedicated student event nights.
- Educational training extended to reach more than 130 primary schools across the region raising awareness of staying safe online, sexual harassment and misogyny.
- A new adult education programme looking to challenge misogynistic language and attitudes using a creative resource and digital activity which is anticipated to reach up to 53,000 employees across the region.
- ‘Bystander training’ for bus drivers and frontline bus station staff to help them better understand and know how to prevent sexual violence. The training will equip them to act as ‘guardians’, to make passengers feel safer.
To find out more, please visit: www.saferstreetsmerseyside.com