A new crime prevention and awareness campaign to help reduce sexual violence in bars and clubs across Liverpool City Centre has been launched today (Wednesday, 4 December).
Merseyside Police together with Liverpool City Council, Liverpool University, Liverpool John Moore's University and voluntary sector partners including Safe Place Merseyside, Rape and Sexual Abuse (RASA) Centre and Red Umbrella have joined together to launch the ‘KNOW’ campaign to reduce sexual assaults in the city.
The initiative will be delivered through training bar and club staff in the city centre to prevent sexual assaults and support victims. This will be complemented by the display of 2,000 posters across different venues and a social media campaign, supported by all partners in the Citysafe Community Safety Partnership.
Since April 2019, 153 bar staff and 10 venues including city centre clubs and bars have received free sexual violence training delivered by the partnership.
Councillor Liz Parsons, Cabinet member for partnerships and community safety, said: “This is much more than a publicity campaign. It is about making sure people know that unwanted sexual contact is a crime, and that any allegation will be taken seriously.
“Working with our partners we are also including training for bar staff in the city centre in how to prevent assaults and support victims. We want to change the culture to make sure unwanted sexual contact is never tolerated or excused in Liverpool, so that people know that no does mean no.”
Superintendent Diane Pownall, Merseyside Police, said: “Sexual assault and unwanted sexual contact is a crime. Together we are committed to raising awareness across Liverpool city centre and spreading the message that these crimes will not be tolerated and could lead to a prison sentence for the offender.
“As the festive season commences, we want to ensure that everybody can enjoy a night out in the city centre without unwanted attention. This is a great city and we want to ensure a safe night out for everyone.”
Also supporting the campaign is Liverpool City Council’s Public Protection Compliance Officer, Jenny Davies. She added: “The Public Protection Enforcement Team have worked alongside RASA Merseyside to provide and design a training package to help bar staff within the night time economy to help victims of sexual violence. The training packages we provide are free and readily available to bar staff, and we are delighted the training package has been so well received. All information on our training packages are available on Liverpool City Council website.”
Shelly Stoops, Service Lead, Red Umbrella at Changing Lives, said: “Here at Changing Lives Red Umbrella, we are fully supportive of this campaign and were honoured to be part of it. It’s about ensuring that we spread the message that any unwanted sexual contact is a crime and there is no hiding place for perpetrators of sexual violence in Liverpool, No means No.”
In addition, Vicky Green, Clinical Lead and ISVA Service Manager, Rape and Sexual Abuse (RASA) Centre, commented: “We are pleased to have worked in collaboration with our partners to produce this campaign to encourage anyone who has experienced sexual violence to access support as soon as possible.”