The Council and democracy Women's Night-time Safety Toolkit

Commitment 2 - Communicate

Communicate to your staff and customers that your organisation takes women’s safety seriously and that you encourage people to come forward to report incidents.

Make use of your internal and external channels to communicate your zero-tolerance policy on unacceptable behaviour and clear options for how and who to report this to.

Why is a communications campaign important? 

The simple act of developing, distributing, and displaying a poster or notice about your organisation’s values in relation to women’s safety and the consequences for unacceptable behaviour can have a hugely positive impact. 

In doing so, you are naming something that many organisations have traditionally refused to acknowledge. Publicly engaging with the topic could be read as ‘we are not a safe place’, but, when we look at how common these experiences are, the opposite is true. 

Many women and girls are reassured to know what the values of a space are, and to know who, and where, they can go to for support. Too often, sexual harassment and assault are not spoken about due to fear of not being believed, or being thought of as a private matter. However, we know that women’s safety should be everyone’s issue. 

Communication campaigns let staff and customers know that you take safety seriously. Naming your values publicly like this helps to create an environment where everyone feels confident to report incidents. It also lets perpetrators know that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated. 

What should this campaign look like? 

It might take the form of a poster campaign, publishing your harassment policy on your website, and using your social media channels to remind customers of your dedication to women’s safety.

Some dos and don’ts for successful women’s safety messaging: 

Do's: 

  • Use positive language (e.g. “We aim to create a welcome space for all our customers…”) 
  • Focus on the consequences of unacceptable behaviour (e.g. “You will be asked to leave…”) 
  • Include why this is not okay (e.g. “No one should feel unsafe while they are here). Summarise the options you’re able to offer for reporting (e.g. text, email, app).

Don’ts: 

  • Don't use graphic images that can be off-putting 
  • Don't use sensational language or humour when describing these offences 
  • Don't use scaremongering or descriptions of victims or perpetrators 
  • Don't use any ‘victim-blaming’ language (e.g. telling people to stay with their friends and stay alert to their surroundings). While this might seem helpful and well-intentioned, women who are targeted should not have to change their behaviour when it is perpetrators who can make a choice not to harass.

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