Businesses and venues have a vital role to play in helping tackle violence against women and girls in public places by:
- Creating welcoming environments that are designed to be as safe as possible
- Training staff to spot and deal appropriately with perpetrators
- Believing and supporting people who experience harassment or abuse
Learn the four Rs: Responsibility, Report, Respond and Redesign
Who is responsible for unacceptable behaviour? The person doing it! It’s a simple equation, and yet we know victim-blaming culture still holds sway in too many places of work and play. Organisations that bring people together at night have a duty of care to ensure their spaces do not further enable harassment, assault or violence towards women or anyone else. It’s also important to recognise that taking responsibility is not the same as taking liability.
A total end to these often criminal behaviours is a long way off and you can’t prevent every single incident. When it does happen, reporting it should be a simple, discreet and hassle-free choice. The process for what will happen next should be clear with a range of options for how an incident can be dealt with.
Choosing to speak up should be encouraged through promoting a supportive culture that believes those who do come forward. Staff should feel confident and clear on how to respond to these reports in a consistent, professional and empathetic way that prioritises safety and care, not personal judgement.
We know that alongside experiences of harassment or assault, the perception of ‘safety’ plays into women’s choices when avoiding certain areas, services and businesses.
Nightlife spaces should be designed to be welcoming and to minimise the risk of enabling ‘opportunistic’ perpetrators, who may, for instance, use a lack of clear visibility in a venue to their advantage.
Become a We Stand Together business
A network of businesses and venues across Portsmouth has been created to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for anyone who has experienced sexual violence and where any form of gender-based harassment or violence will not be tolerated.
Staff at We Stand Together venues receive specialist training from Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service (PARCS) and make a commitment to:
- Appoint a women’s safety champion
- Train and support staff in issues around sexual violence
- Communicate to customers a no tolerance approach to sexual violence
- Implement design changes to better support safety
- Have a clear reporting process in place if an incident occurs
- Signpost to local support services
If you are a Portsmouth venue and want to register your interest for future training opportunities to join the We Stand Together scheme please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more and see which venues have undertaken training here: We Stand Together scheme – Safer Portsmouth