There is a need for a change in societal attitudes towards sexual harassment and abuse in the night-time economy. Socialising after office hours with colleagues is part of the work culture in London and employers have a duty of care to ensure that their employees are safe and protected when they do this. As we approach the festive season, ensuring that employees are not at risk at their work Christmas party should be a key consideration for firms.
Businesses have an important role to play in actively challenging myths around sexual harassment and abuse, “reframing” the stereotypes that are used in this context. Sexual harassment and abuse is disproportionately experienced by women, but this is an issue that is pertinent to everyone – no matter their gender or sexuality.
The “#ReframeTheNight” campaign is a collaborative effort between the City of London Corporation, London Borough of Hackney and the Good Night Out Campaign and aims to help businesses by raising awareness of proactive measures they can take, challenging myths and signposting to free support services for people who have been affected by sexual harassment or abuse.
#ReframeTheNight is part of the City Corporation’s commitment to the Mayor of London’s Women’s Night Safety Charter.
Since September 2015 the City of London has seen a 55% increase in the number of reported cases of sexual harassment or assaults occurring in the night-time economy. The City of London Police have identified that in around 40% of these incidents, alcohol was a key factor.
We want to challenge people to ‘reframe’ the common perceptions and myths that are so regularly used when talking about sexual harassment and abuse. We have done this through using five different myths and ‘reframed’ them to reflect the reality of sexual harassment and abuse.
According to the City of London’s Vulnerable Victims Advocate, Ayesha Fordham, “sexual harassment and abuse has a profound impact on the victim, affecting every aspect of their life. It is a crime against their body and is committed by the perpetrator in an act to gain power and control.
Many of the people I support who have been affected by sexual violence blame themselves and question whether there was something they could have done differently; did they drink too much? Was their outfit too revealing? Did they lead the perpetrator on? #ReframeTheNight campaign challenges these myths surrounding sexual harassment and abuse, putting the blame and responsibility on the perpetrator, not the victim.”
The “#ReframeTheNight” campaign launched on 25 November, to coincide with the start of 2019’s “16 Days of Action Against Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG)”. The campaign has been funded through the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), to ensure any funds generated through criminal acts are used in a positive way to support crime prevention. Visit the City Corporation’s website to find out more: www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/reframethenight
You can also download A4 campaign posters here, to display in your workplaces.
To complement the campaign, training will be delivered in February to licensed venues signed up to the City Corporation’s “Safety Thirst” scheme, which aims to raise awareness of how staff should respond to claims of sexual harassment and abuse, ensuring the victim receives appropriate and timely care and support. This training will be offered free of charge; funded by the Late Night Levy.
Further information and support is available here:
- The City’s Vulnerable Victim Advocate: 07944634946 / firstname.lastname@example.org
- Police (emergency: 999) (non-emergency: 101)
- Report a crime (City of London Police website)
- City Advice: 020 7392 2919