West Mercia Police, Shropshire Council, Shrewsbury BID and Shrewsbury Town Council have collaborated on a campaign to make the streets of Shropshire safer for women and girls. This video is one element of that campaign and it is aimed at challenging the behaviour and attitudes of men.
Funded as part of the Government’s Safer Streets 4 initiative, the campaign specifically targets younger people, including students, highlighting verbal abuse, drunken behaviour and assault.
We wanted to create a targeted campaign with clear messaging.
We also wanted the messaging to be tough and powerful.
We recognised that it was going to be difficult to reach a younger demographic and so we set up focus groups with local university students, to feedback to us to help shape the campaign. The feedback was eye-opening.
We spoke to 18 and 19-year-olds who would overthink their outfits on a night out - worrying about their skirts being too short or tops too low, and whether that would attract the wrong attention from men. It was important the campaign took a fresh approach and it spoke to men rather than women.
Our aim is to change the attitudes and behaviour of men and stop with the victim blaming.
We want to empower men to acknowledge, and be more aware of, the impact their decisions and behaviour has on those around them, especially women.
Everyone has a responsibility and a part to play in making our streets a safer place.
This part of our campaign involves this short video and was bolstered by posters, that were placed throughout Shropshire, and advertised on buses in the main town.
The video, which has been designed to look like it has been filmed on a smartphone, shows a woman on a night out celebrating her birthday. The night soon descends into an upsetting assault, largely fuelled by alcohol.
On one of the posters, the image shows a man leaning close to a clearly distressed young woman. The words say: ‘He’s too close. He’s too drunk. #Itsnotokay’ followed by ‘this could be your sister, your partner, your friend’.
Chief inspector Tracy Ryan, West Mercia Police, said: “Challenging men to look at their own behaviour and that of their friends might feel awkward but it is something we should be talking about…Looking forward, we want to continue working to make the streets of Shropshire safer. Our mission is for the VAWG initiative to be business as usual, and weaved into the everyday roles of all police officers across the Force.”
The Safe Night Out Campaign is one element of our Home Office Funded Safer Streets 4 initiative that has been carried out by West Mercia Police. In addition to this video campaign, we have supported an increase in the number of street pastors patrolling Shrewsbury town, are enhancing the towns CCTV, have introduced a permanent ‘safe space’ women can go to should they feel vulnerable, and brought in town rangers – patrolling the business district throughout the week providing support to all.