1 in 4 women in Surrey experienced harassment in the last 12 months
Surrey County Council and our partners are committed to preventing Violence Against Women and Girls, and creating a safe, inclusive, and equal community for all, as demonstrated by our partnership Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy. As a White Ribbon accredited organisation, this year we are empowering everyone to #ChangeTheStory for women and girls, to live a life free from fear, violence, and abuse.
A recent survey of 500 Surrey residents has revealed that 1 in 4 women (and 1 in 5 men) have experienced street harassment or unwelcome attention in the last 12 months*
The survey, conducted by YouGov, also found that 47% of all respondents lacked confidence in knowing how to intercede if they witnessed street harassment*
We encourage everyone to learn about the four ways they can support people in their community if they witness harassment, aligning with the acronym 'STOP':
You can show your disapproval at what is going on by, for example, not laughing and saying, 'I don't think that's funny'. Or you could be more direct, if you feel it's safe to do so, by saying it's unacceptable and tell them to stop.
You could tell someone in charge, like the bar staff if you're in a pub or club, Human Resources (HR) if you're at work, or the train guard or bus driver if you're on public transport.
Offer to help
You can ask the victim if they're OK. You could capture what's happening on your phone and ask if they want the footage to report the incident, and you could offer to help report it. You could also help others already giving support.
Provide a diversion
Sometimes what's best in the moment is creating a distraction, giving the person being targeted a chance to move away or giving others the opportunity to get help. You could strike up conversation with the victim, e.g. ask for directions, or where the next stop is on the bus, or pretend you know them.
If you think somebody is in immediate danger, call 999.
Find out more about standing up to harassment on the White Ribbon Healthy Surrey web page.
We recognise that sometimes we may feel fearful when we witness harassment, we may think we have misread a situation, we may feel scared that the abuse may then be focused onto us, or we may not know how to act and intervene safely. Why not attend the free online 'Stand-Up Against Harassment' bystander intervention workshop, delivered in the UK exclusively by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust. This workshop gives you the skills and knowledge of how to intervene safely when you witness harassment.
The free online workshop is Wednesday 6 December 10am to 11am via Microsoft Teams.
*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 501 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27 October to 1 November 2023. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Surrey residents (aged 18 and over).
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