New campaign tackles the fears being raised about violence against women
Every woman should be safe and feel safe, wherever they are and at any time of day. Sadly, that still isn’t the case. Studies have found that the risk of sexual violence is high in locations associated with big night-time economies, and women are 11 times more likely than men to be the victim of assault or rape.
Liverpool is a vibrant city and we want to ensure women can enjoy a night out safely and without fear
To tackle these issues, Liverpool City Council is working in partnership with Merseyside Police, the city’s universities and registered charity RASA Merseyside (the rape and sexual abuse support service) to make sure women and girls are safe in the city at night.
The partnership has applied for £270,000 from the Safer Streets 3 Home Office fund which will be invested in promoting safer transport routes in and out of the city centre.
The Safer Streets funding was released following the murder of Sarah Everard who was abducted while walking home in London earlier this year. It is expected a decision on the bid will be made in September.
A recent public consultation by Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell highlighted the real fear of sexual harassment and sexual violence, particularly when travelling in and out of the city centre at night.
The findings reflect the national picture, as in 2019/20 the Crime Survey of England and Wales found that 69% of women aged 16 and over said that they felt very or fairly safe walking alone after dark, in contrast to 89% of men.
Inspector Charlotte Irlam, Local Policing said, “Liverpool is a vibrant city and we want to ensure women can enjoy a night out safely and without fear.
“As a society we need to take a strong stance against attacks on women who should be empowered to live their lives without fear of sexual objectification, harassment, or physical and mental abuse.
“Together with our partners, Merseyside Police is actively addressing the fears being raised about violence against women, and we are trying to address them, with the ultimate aim of making our streets safer for women and girls.
“If women are subjected to rape and sexual abuse we and our partners will investigate and treat victims with dignity and respect.”
Post-lockdown, the city council’s Alcohol and Tobacco Unit has resumed work with bar and club staff to train them to identify and prevent sexual assaults.
RASA’s “It’s not me it’s you” campaign addresses victim blaming culture by calling out perpetrators and reframing attitudes to victims, placing the blame back where it belongs - with the perpetrator.
Lorraine Woods, Operations Manager at RASA Merseyside said: “Within the context of sexual assault, victim blaming is the term used to describe an attitude that suggests it is the victim rather than the perpetrator who bears responsibility.
“It’s important to understand that sexual violence is never, ever the fault of the person who experiences it. Sexual violence happens because someone chooses to use harmful behaviours, not because someone is wearing a certain item of clothing, said a certain thing, or was in a certain place.”
RASA Merseyside offers help and support for anyone who has been sexually abused or raped, or who has been affected by sexual violence at any time in their lives.
Viait www.rasamerseyside.org or call 0151 666 1392.
In an emergency please contact 999.
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