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Community / New campaign aims to prevent sexual violence on nights out

A NEW campaign will be launched in Shetland aimed at helping people spot and prevent sexual violence on nights out.

The Compass Centre, also known as Shetland Rape Crisis, will distribute leaflets and posters, titled What to do if you think someone is in danger on a night out.

They will be made available from International Women’s Day – Tuesday 8 March – in pubs, hotels and taxis around the isles as well as online.

One of the pages in the leaflet.

The campaign was created with the aim of aiding members of the public to spot predatory sexual behaviour and providing them with options for how to address it.

The Compass Centre’s prevention and activism worker Ellie Ratter said: “People often approach us asking for guidance on what to do if you are worried about someone or something you’ve seen on a night out.

“We hear from folk that there have been times where they feel like something is wrong, but they don’t know how to address it.

“The main thread running through the campaign is safety first – if it isn’t safe to act then we advise you stay back and report what you saw – but sometimes there are steps you can take that could make all the difference.

“We hope that with this campaign people will feel more empowered to check-in on each other’s safety.”

The Compass Centre has collaborated with local bars, hotels and businesses to display the leaflets in publicly accessible areas.

A poster version of the leaflet has also been created to display in the bathrooms of these businesses.

The centre has also been working in collaboration with taxi companies across Shetland to roll out a smaller version of the leaflet.

Service manager Lisa Ward said: “Sexual violence on a night out can look like a lot of things: harassment, sexual bullying and catcalling; isolating drunk and/or underage people for the purposes of sexual activity; unwanted touching and assault; non-consensual image-taking and sharing, spiking and the use of alcohol to lower someone’s ability to consent; and rape.

“As we saw from the testimonies provided in #WisToo and from the stories we hear every day at The Compass Centre, we know these things happen in Shetland just as often as they do elsewhere.

“Most people, however, do not perpetrate sexual violence and most in this community want everyone to be safe from it.

“We hope that this campaign will help to provide some practical steps for us all to be able to achieve that.”

The Compass Centre provides free and confidential information, support and advocacy for any non-abusive person of any gender in Shetland (aged 13+) who has been affected by sexual violence at any time in their lives.

People can get in touch by phone on 01595 747174, through email via contact@compasscentre.org or at 11 Hill Lane in Lerwick.