Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner and the Director of Public Prosecutions for England and Wales celebrate the launch of a major campaign to protect women and girls in Nottingham. Impact’s Hannah Bentley reports on the efforts to make the night-time economy safer.
The event, hosted by The Cosy Club in Nottingham city centre on the 22nd March, aimed to publicise and celebrate the work done by multiple institutions and businesses in Nottingham to make the city a safer space for women and girls, with a particular focus on the night-time economy. This is part of the Home Office’s Safety of Women at Night (SWaN) fund which the commissioner, Caroline Henry, secured £300,000 from to support campaigns such as the ‘Safe Space Pledge’ and the Consent Coalition.
The A-Z of consent campaign aims “to encourage some really bold conversations about consent”
According to their website, “the Consent Coalition is a group of organisations within Nottingham who are working together to raise awareness of the importance of consent, banish myths about rape and sexual violence, and encourage survivors and victims to access support and report any sexual violence”. They also provide free training for businesses to ensure the safety of women and girls.
One initiative of theirs is ‘The A-Z of consent’ campaign which aims “to encourage some really bold conversations about consent” as stated by the commissioner. The campaign has featured wrapped buses and trams to address the issues surrounding consent awareness, which was unveiled on the 10th of March and will run for 12 months.
Charlotte Caulton-Scott, Senior District Crown Prosecutor and Head of Rape and Serious Sexual Offences (RASSO) for CPS East Midlands, also attended the event after playing a key role in leading the Consent Coalition campaign, explaining that “it’s really important that [young people] understand consent”. She believes the campaign is already having a positive impact because Consent Coalition’s website crashed due to increased online traffic after the wrapped buses and trams were introduced.
Nottingham [is] a ”national model” in “tackling violence against women and girls”
In her speech, Caroline Henry thanked “NET and Nottingham City Transport who both agreed to include the training in their internal programme” as well as St John’s ambulance service who have “made a huge difference to those in distress on a night out” by being stationed in Old Market Square on Friday and Saturday nights.
Max Hill QC (Director of Public Prosecutions for England and Wales), having travelled from London for the occasion, was very complimentary of the campaign, calling Nottingham a ”national model” in “tackling violence against women and girls”.
Michele Philipps, area manager of Rock City, also attended the event. She stated that late last year the night-time economy “was hit by a substantial increase in reported spiking incidences, highlighting once again that people, and predominantly women, are feeling unsafe”.
“As venues we will listen, we will believe you, and we will act”
She continued to say that “there needed to be a consistent standard of advice and intervention training across the city to give staff who work in the night time economy the tools, and more importantly the confidence to intervene” in situations where women were unsafe, which the Consent Coalition has sought to provide.
When questioned on the safety of Rock City, Philipps said the nightclub “has amazing CCTV but some dark corners”. The staff have undergone the training funded by SWaN in January this year, alongside many other businesses in Nottingham. Philipps wanted to make it clear to university students the importance of reporting incidents that occur in nightclubs; “as venues we will listen, we will believe you, and we will act”.
Emily Garton, the Women*’s Student Union Officer at the University of Nottingham attended the event after being involved in the SWaN steering group. She says “it’s been a valuable way to convey the concerns of students” and that the “campaigns are a real solution to some of these cultural issues. The ‘Safe Space’ pledge for venues in the NTE [night-time economy] will hopefully make a real difference. It feels like a good step in the right direction”.
Featured image courtesy of Hannah Bentley. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
In-article images courtesy of Hannah Bentley. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to these images.
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