A survey to listen to lived experiences of women and their views on personal safety has been launched by Cumbria Police as the first step in their ‘Call it out’ campaign.
The ‘Call It Out’ campaign, which was announced by Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner yesterday, Thursday March 18, seeks to understand the concerns of women across the county and use this to address behaviour and crime that must be challenged.
The campaign is in response to the tragic death of Sarah Everard in London which has prompted women across the UK, to share their experiences and feelings of being unsafe, intimidated or harassed and we’re wanting to understand how women in Cumbria feel.
Feeling unsafe is not exclusive to women, however sexual violence and harassment offences are overwhelmingly committed by males against females.
The survey, which is completely anonymous, is available at: www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/CallitOut and will run until midday on April1.
Chief Superintendent Sarah Jackson, Cumbria Constabulary, said: “This is a time for society to reflect on what needs to be done to reduce violence, abuse and harassment against women and girls.
“Whilst the police are not the sole solution, we clearly have an important role in addressing some of the issues being widely discussed.
“The first step is to listen to what women and girls in our community have to say on their personal experiences and how safe they feel. We also want to ensure that anyone who needs help and support, knows how to access it.
“The information we get from the survey will form part of a wider ‘Call It Out’ campaign, which will enable us to understand what needs to be done, it will inform our plans and our approach in the future to improve personal safety.
“No woman should ever feel intimidated or unsafe. I urge women and girls to support the ‘Call It Out’ campaign and complete the survey so we can all work together to make Cumbria a safer place.”
Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said: “The tragic circumstances around Sarah Everard’s death have highlighted the unacceptable level of harassment and fear too many women and girls experience on our streets, this culture has to change.
“There are no easy or necessarily instant answers to this but we are keen to understand more about the lived experiences of women in Cumbria, where and when they don’t feel safe what actions and people make them uneasy in their own communities?
“This is why we’re launching this ‘Call It Out’ campaign with Cumbria Police to gather and understand your experiences of crimes against women and girls and would urge all women to please take part and share your experiences, thoughts and views with us.
“With a better understanding we will be able to target more effective response and action to make change.
“Police enforcement isn’t the single answer to this issue, we need to work with parents, schools, employers and all agencies to change culture but there is already a lot of good work being done around women’s safety but we clearly need to do more.
“I want to reassure every woman and girl in the county that the police are here to protect you and that if you have or are experiencing sexual assault, harassment, rape or any type of abuse, please report it to the police – your report will be taken seriously.
“Finally, I would ask all men to consider your actions too. Every single one of us must think about how we treat and behave towards women and girls.”
If you have been a victim of any crime, please report this to police via the online reporting form available at http://www.cumbria.police.uk or call 101.
If it is an emergency, always 999.
There is a wealth of vital support services available in Cumbria. Victims can access support services regardless of if they have reported a crime to police or not.
To independently access support services, contact Victim Support on 0808 1689 111 or visit http://www.cumbriatogether.com for the contact details of the services.
If you have been affected by rape or sexual assault, please contact The Bridgeway’s free 24/7 helpline on 0808 118 6432.
The Bridgeway is Cumbria’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre which provides expert support to victims of rape or sexual assault.