Liverpool city centre’s bars and door staff are to receive training as part of a campaign to raise awareness about sexual abuse.
The scheme, called ‘There’s No Excuse’, has been launched by the community safety partnership, Citysafe, which aims to warn men that something they may think is just a bit of fun, actually can constitute a sexual assault.
The Student Safety Group, and Violence against Women and Girls, sparked the idea for the campaign after expressing their concerns about the amount of sexual assaults reported in the city centre.
Councillor Emily Spurrell, the Mayoral lead on Community Safety, believes that it is difficult to quantify the amount of incidents of sexual assault in Liverpool, as she believes that the majority are unreported.
She told JMU Journalism: “There is a culture within our society that going out at night means accepting that you will get groped or fondled by strangers. We need to be absolutely clear that it is not acceptable and should not be something people put up with when they go out.”
Regular training will be provided to ensure that staff can identify potential problems, and can encourage victims to report cases of sexual abuse to the police.
Messages on the impact of serving alcohol, or allowing entry to those that are intoxicated will also be delivered, as these are the types of people that could be vulnerable to assault.
Sandra Roscoe, Partnership Officer for Safer and Stronger Communities, told JMU Journalism: “Licensees and bar staff play a very important role in supporting the campaign in terms of working in the night time economy. They have a duty of care to provide a safe environment for patrons who visit their bars and clubs.
“They can act as the eyes and ears on behalf of their patrons, and should be able to pick up on when a situation arises that leaves an individual vulnerable.”
The campaign, particularly targeted at young people, will be highlighted on social networking sites. However, the council is also working alongside students’ unions, the police and other local organisations to promote the message.
Cllr Spurrell added: “Individuals need to be aware of the impact such behaviour can have on victims. To them it may feel like a bit of fun or a joke but it can make victims feel isolated and vulnerable and can be very damaging.
“Unwanted touching of any kind is sexual harassment and needs to stop.”