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The Avon and Somerset police are launching a campaign against sexual assault in bars and clubs in Bristol.

They are working in collaboration with partners such as Bristol Women’s Voice, who are encouraging venues to sign up to the Bristol Zero Tolerance campaign, making venues safer on a night out.

Staff will receive specialist training on how to deal with harassment and assault and how to support their customers.

Clare Lowe is the Events Manager at No.1 Harbourside, The Canteen and The Old Market Assembly, all of which have signed up to the Zero Tolerance campaign and whose staff have received the training.

Clare said: “Staff now know how to support people who disclose an assault to them and our door staff waste no time in identifying who the culprits are and throwing them out. This in turn makes people feel safer and more likely to return, as well as making offenders think twice about their behaviour.”

PC John Loughlin told Epigram:

‘Our initial response to this issue was a result of an e-mail we received via our website from a young lady reporting that she had been the victim of indecent assault on a number of occasions at various licensed premises. I met with her and we discussed the issues she faced and her frustrations at the lengths she had to go to prevent this attention.’

New posters will be displayed in venues across the city encouraging victims to report when they’ve been assaulted and warning offenders that their behaviour won’t be tolerated.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “Sexual assault is a crime and will not be tolerated on any level in Avon and Somerset. No one has the right to touch another person in this way and I’m delighted the police, and our partners and the local bars and clubs are coming together to tackle this unacceptable behaviour”.

This is an issue that has been raised in the past amongst Bristol students, themselves being both victims and perpetrators of sexual assault.

Awareness of sexual assault in Bristol has risen since the success of previous Epigram Online Editor, Hannah Price’s campaign ‘#Revolt Against Sexual Assault.’ The campaign, which was a success on a national scale, allowed victims of sexual assault to tell their stories candidly, using Snapchat filters. PC Nicholas Boyce confirmed ‘I’m sure that that campaign added to the awareness.’

Avon and Somerset Police began their campaign in July, in time for the return of students in September. It is being promoted with #thisisnotanexcuse on social media alongside the message ‘it is not acceptable and there will be consequences for anyone who behaves like this in our licensed premises.’

You can report a sexual assault to the police online or by calling 101. If a crime is in progress or in an emergency always call 999.

For more advice and support, visit www.thisisnotanexcuse.org


Have you witnessed any of the above crimes in local bars and clubs? Let us know.
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