Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews is reminding men and women there is still time to help shape the content of a campaign to protect women and girls from violence.
The campaign, set to launch in the New Year, aims to raise awareness of harmful attitudes and behaviours towards women and girls that underpin violence and to provide men with the tools, knowledge and confidence to become ‘active bystanders’ when they witness unacceptable behaviour towards women.
The project, being delivered by Hitch Marketing Ltd in partnership with Leicestershire Police and the PCC, is being funded as part of a £550k safety grant secured by the PCC from the Home Office’s Safer Streets 3 Fund.
The funding, which is part of a £23.5m national pot, has been shared across England and Wales as part of the Government’s strategy to reduce violence against women and girls.
Project leaders have designed a new survey to give men and women aged 18-40 an opportunity to express their views on derogatory or predatory behaviour towards women including ‘cat calling’, leering, wolf-whistling and taking unwanted photographs and how they think society can better respond to the problems.
The research will be used to develop a bespoke media campaign that is sensitive to the views of local people and raises awareness of the part men can play in rejecting harmful behaviour to keep women safe.
The survey closes on December 20th and Mr Matthews has issued a final call to anyone who would like to contribute their opinion.
“This campaign is an important part of the Safer Streets project and demonstrates our commitment to tackling the root causes of violence against women and girls and challenging perpetrators to change their behaviour,” said Mr Matthews.
“While we are investing in a number of practical safety measures such as new CCTV and street lighting, there has to be equal emphasis on cultural change so that the underlying issues that drive violent behaviour can be eradicated from society in the long-term.
“We want men to be actively involved in the response to violence and harassment and have the confidence and desire to intervene in circumstances where women are vulnerable or under threat. By doing so, they will consistently reinforce the message that violence is unacceptable and shift the margins of will and will not be tolerated.
“Many of the behaviours identified in this survey commonly occur in environments associated with the night-time economy. With the festive season upon us, it is an opportune time for people to think about any experiences they may have had – particularly men who have witnessed inappropriate behaviour - and help us to bring positive change. Please do take the time to share your views.”
Grace Strong, Strategic Director of Leicestershire’s Violence Reduction Network (VRN), added: “All men have a key role to play in preventing violence and should be actively involved in the solutions.
“I hope men and women take this opportunity to feed back their views and shape the messaging of this campaign. The bystander approach to violence goes beyond changing individuals to challenging the culture and societal norms that maintain it which can have far-reaching, positive results for the future.”
The survey asks people whether they believe behaviours such as ‘cat calling’, wolf-whistling and taking unwanted photographs are a social problem that needs to change and if they believe they constitute criminal, violent or antisocial behaviour.
It also asks people how behaviours can be resolved and asks participants if they have experienced any of the issues raised.
If you would like to complete the survey, please visit: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/VOD1FU/.