In a step towards tackling violence against women and girls in Portsmouth, people who work in the city at night, such as bar staff and taxi drivers, are being invited by Portsmouth City Council to learn how bystanders can support victims or even help prevent crime.
Hampshire Constabulary recorded an increase in sexual offences in Portsmouth last year and 80 per cent of reported sexual offences in Portsmouth have a female victim. 93 recorded offences against women and girls (2020) occurred in public places – highlighting the need to better equip those who may be a witness to a crime or the build-up or aftermath of an incident.
Nine free online training sessions are being held throughout February and March for those who work in Portsmouth’s night-time economy, such as bus and taxi drivers, staff at bars, hotels and restaurants, and community volunteers. The training is supported by funding from the Home Office and is one of several initiatives aimed at tackling violence against women and girls in the city.
Councillor Dave Ashmore, Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “Violence against women and girls in public places is sadly all too common. Bystanders will often witness the build-up or aftermath of an incident, if not the incident itself, and are sometimes in a position to support victims or even safely deter perpetrators. By working closely with the police and equipping those who work in the city at night with the knowledge, understanding and confidence to act, we can continue to improve the safety of our streets. I’d also encourage anyone who witnesses a crime or is worried someone is at risk from violence, harassment or abuse to contact the police.”
To book a free place on the training course please visit: Community in Motion Training | Eventbrite.
HELP AND SUPPORT:
- Local support is available for women and girls affected by sexual violence through Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling (PARCS): www.parcs.org.uk
- You can report a crime to the police at: www.hampshire.police.uk/
- You can use the pilot service StreetSafe to anonymously tell the police about public places where you have felt or feel unsafe
- If you or someone else are in immediate danger or you need support right away, call 999.