Beer mats and posters with a clear message: #Show Some Respect, will be being rolled out across Guernsey this weekend.
They are part of a Guernsey Police campaign, which aims to instigate a culture change surrounding violence, intimidation and sexual assault against women and girls, particularly in the night-time economy. Guernsey Police also wants to encourage and empower members of our community to both speak out, and not be bystanders.
Sexual Assault of any kind is and always has been unacceptable as is the attitude of some that think they can get away with it in the context of a pub or nightclub.
Guernsey Police has developed this campaign in collaboration with members of the public and third-sector representatives who initially engaged with Officers at the Community Advisory Group, which took place in September and focused on Violence against Women and Girls.
Following that event, a smaller group of those who attended came together to drive forward ideas generated. It was decided that as we enter Christmas party season, a campaign looking specifically at issues in the night-time economy would help to both call out inappropriate behaviours and highlight how the police can help those subject to violence, groping, leering and more. This smaller group is going to formalise to help drive this campaign, and others like it, forwards.
Guernsey Police have also begun to liaise with landlords, club owners, and other key stake holders to get their support for the campaign and hope to work with them more in the future. Finally, Officers have had the full backing of the Committee for Home Affairs, who have been very supportive of this work, and are also liaising with Law Enforcement on a number of other, closely linked, work streams.
Deputy Chief Officer, Ian Scholes, said: “This issue is an extremely important one, and that has only been made clearer by tragic events nationally in the last year. There is a need for people’s attitudes to change. Some people will argue their behaviour is harmless or was the norm ‘back in the day’, but the reality is that it wasn’t okay then, and it isn’t okay now.
“The campaign’s aims are twofold: we want it to continue the conversation that really sparked following the tragic death of Sarah Everard in March, and we want to raise awareness about how Guernsey Police is here to help. By that, I mean that we are not just here to help get the complaints of a victim in front of a judge. We are also here to help you, support you, and protect you, and we want you to feel empowered to speak out.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank those members of the public we have been working with for their contributions. I would also like to thank the business owners and landlords for their positivity in engaging with us on this issue.”
Guernsey Police also liaised with the organisers of the Girls Night In event, which took place last week. The campaign and that event have a shared goal; allowing women and girls to enjoy a night out without having to fear what others might do and without having to take precautions to avoid being assaulted. Guernsey Police fully supported the motivations of the Girls Night In, and hope that going forwards, efforts from Law Enforcement and businesses in the industry will help them feel comfortable having many Girls Nights Out.
Deputy Chief Officer Scholes added: “It is worth noting that this is only one piece of the puzzle. Violence and intimidation against women and girls doesn’t just take place in one environment, nor in one demographic. We, along with the Committee for Home Affairs, are looking at how we can make changes across the board, both internally and externally, to improve these situations and instigate this culture change more widely, whether that be in the context of domestic abuse, sexual assault in a nightclub, child sexual exploitation, or anything else. We are working on further initiatives with a range of partner organisations which we will announce in due course.
“The final thing I’d like to add is that we know that anyone can be the victim of violence or inappropriate behaviour, regardless of age or gender. Women are victim to these behaviours much more regularly and this campaign puts the emphasis on them for that reason, but we are here to support anyone who is a victim of such behaviour.”