There is no doubt that sexual violence remains an issue across the U.K. Whilst anyone can be a victim of sexual violence a public health response cannot ignore the gendered nature of these incidents. That is that the majority of victims are women, and the perpetrators are men. We know that sexual crimes are on the rise and whilst it is clear more victims are coming forward we cannot rely simply on this and must look to the culture within society that says to some people that it’s ok to use sexist and misogynistic language.
By providing individuals with a narrative to support a victim who makes a disclosure will provide much needed assistance to individuals as well as helping them access further support. In short, research supports the idea that we can train people to safely act when they witness problematic situations. Such intervention presents the reality that community itself can be a valuable prevention tool that needs to be engaged by law enforcement. The likes of door stewards, bar staff, taxi drivers, volunteers and other partners who either work in or support the night-time economy, are in a unique position to support wider prevention work around sexual violence.
By raising awareness, we can activate those around victims and perpetrators. The training applies gendered analysis within the program as well as identifying that sexual violence can take place in all types of relationships. The training does not take an approach that identifies men as perpetrators or potential perpetrators but focuses on leadership and identifies men as a big part of the solution but makes use of a creative bystander approach to promote much needed discussion amongst individuals on gender based violence (GBV).
Traditionally approaches to violence and abuse focuses on the acts of perpetrators and victims. A bystander approach firstly removes this binary approach identifying individuals as friends, classmates, neighbours, team-mates, work colleagues or family members with a role in the prevention of abuse being committed against/ or by others.
The purpose of our Communities in Motion project is to deliver 8 CiM sessions and a further 2 more intense “Train The trainer” sessions that will raise awareness of sexual violence, how it can impact on the night-time economy and inspire personal leadership to prevent incidences of sexual violence. This approach for violence prevention focuses on boys and men not as perpetrators or potential perpetrators, but as empowered bystanders who can confront abusive peers and support abused ones.
Likewise, the model focuses on girls and women not as victims or potential targets of harassment, rape, and abuse, but as empowered bystanders who can support abused peers and confront abusive ones. The project will be delivered to delegates from across the Humber area, working collaboratively with neighbouring CSPs.
In total 247 individuals have received Community In Motion Training so far, 40 of which will undertake additional ‘Train The Trainer’ training to allow us to continue to roll out of the training across the region to more partners at a later date.