Media release - Have fun, but stay safe
Published on 4th September 2013
Organisations in Cheltenham have been working together to strengthen existing ways of protecting people who could come to harm whilst socialising.
In a joint venture, Cheltenham Borough Council and Gloucestershire Police have been working with Cheltenham Safeguarding Forum to develop three campaigns that will reinforce the work that already goes on in Cheltenham. The campaigns will focus on raising awareness of personal safety so that people can enjoy Cheltenham’s parks, streets, home life and nightlife without fear.
The first ‘positive socialising’ campaign has also involved the University of Gloucestershire’s Students’ Union and Cheltenham Nightsafe. It will coincide with Freshers’ Week (16 September) and the night time activity associated with that event. But the campaign also covers much more than that.
A targeted poster campaign will be launched to promote ways of keeping safe from sexual violence. The posters will highlight the things to do to prevent alcohol-related rapes and sexual assaults. They will also reinforce to potential offenders that sex without consent, or with someone too drunk to consent, constitutes rape. Wristbands will also be given out to highlight the helpline number to those who may need it.
Faye Kamara, Strategic County Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Co-ordinator based within Gloucestershire Constabulary, said: “We’re hoping that freshers and everyone that enjoys the Cheltenham night life gets on board with this new campaign.
“The initiative will support the vast amount of work the police and partner agencies already do to keep people safe. We want people to remember their night out for the right reasons and believe that the more people that hear these important messages the more they can help us keep them and their friends safe.”
There will also be a joint street-safe operation between 14 and 21 September involving police and Cheltenham Borough Council’s licensing and public protection teams.
Another essential part of the ‘positive socialising’ campaign is the growing issue of online and mobile phone safety. The county council’s youth support team have been working with the police to offer sessions at primary and secondary schools on the dangers of ‘sexting’ and bullying using mobile phones.
Extra training is being piloted for those on the ‘front line’ at community centres, children’s centres, Cheltenham Borough Homes and Cheltenham Borough Council to help victims of violence. The training is being delivered by Hope House SARC, the Sexual Assault Referral Centre based in Gloucester. If the pilot is successful, it will be rolled out to other agencies across the town.
Councillor Peter Jeffries, cabinet member for housing, safety and communities, said: “There is a tremendous amount of good work already going on by many agencies and organisations in Cheltenham to help people stay safe. By pulling everyone together with a focussed effort and targeting our resources at key times throughout the year, we know we can deliver additional support with very clear benefits.”
The next two campaigns, ‘Positive Living’ and ‘Positive Relationships’, will take place later in 2013 and in early 2014.
‘Positive Socialising’ is one of three, week-long 'safeguarding weeks' planned over the coming months.
- Positive Socialising - will run in September 2013 to coincide with Freshers' Week. It will pull together a range of activities, not only for promoting safe engagement with the evening and night time economy, but will also address sexual violence and online/mobile safety.
- Positive Living will run in late October to coincide with Halloween / bonfire night and darker nights / clock changes. It will focus on ways to make vulnerable adults feel safer in their homes and encourage them to play an active part in their communities. The aim is also to engage younger people in the issues that traditionally occur with those events.
- Positive Relationships will run in early 2014 to coincide with the lead up to Cheltenham Races. It will incorporate not only work around sexual exploitation and support for front line workers to recognise and report, but also hopefully engagement in schools and colleges about healthy relationships and domestic violence.
The partners involved in these campaigns are:
- Cheltenham Borough Council
- Gloucestershire Constabulary
- Cheltenham Safeguarding Forum (including County Community Projects and other voluntary sector organisations)
- Youth Support Service
- Gloucestershire University’s Students’ Union
- Cheltenham Nightsafe
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