A long-term behaviour change campaign is running in Cambridgeshire to stop violence against women and girls (VAWG).
Funding for the campaign was secured through the Home Office’s Safer Streets Fund Round 3 as part of the Government’s strategy to increase the safety of public spaces for all; focusing specifically on women who are disproportionately affected.
The money has been used for many improvement projects including training CCTV operators, taxi drivers and door staff to spot the signs and know how to deal with predatory behaviour. Officers have also been on dedicated patrols in city centres and spent time in and around bars and clubs, ensuring everyone gets home safe.
However, these are solutions to problems which the force is looking to prevent through the behaviour change media campaign, which is specifically designed to create long-term differences in our county and beyond.
Created in conjunction with partners and behaviour change agency Social Change UK, it focuses on encouraging men to identify and call out misogynistic, harassing and sexually violent behaviours.
The campaign, “KNOW violence against women”, is part of the ongoing VAWG strategy, with posts on social media and a new website dedicated to educating men, and women, about misogyny and violence against women and girls. The campaign is also promoted in public spaces across the county, including colleges, universities, parks, gyms, pubs and bars.
KNOW Violence Against Women aims to tackle the problems that women in Cambridgeshire face daily, by highlighting misogynistic and sexist language, such as “you’re smart for a woman” or “you look prettier when you smile”. What is often dismissively described as “banter” is now being called out as a form of harassment which contributes towards a culture of sexual violence.
This project saw an extensive research phase which found that many local women feel sexual harassment and violence is an almost inevitable part of being a woman, with latest research reporting a higher percentage of female residents feeling somewhat unsafe or in danger at numerous public areas across Cambridgeshire, compared to male residents. As well as facing sexual violence in public spaces, women and girls often face abuse online, such as receiving unsolicited nude pictures or being coerced into sending suggestive images of themselves.
The campaign features three slogans: KNOW Misogyny, KNOW Harassment and KNOW Sexual Violence. These ideas were developed using research from women and girls across Cambridgeshire, targeting the three main issues that women reported experiencing in public spaces.
You can follow the campaign on Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok @knowviolenceagainstwomen and Twitter @KnowViolenceAW