Spiking someone’s drink is as serious as stabbing someone – warns a hard-hitting new campaign about sexual consent.
The stark message, telling people the offence can carry a sentence of up to ten years in prison, is just one of 26 big, bold new words included in the Night Time A-Z of Consent.
The edgy campaign – emblazoned on trams and buses, posters and social media - is aimed at preventing sexual violence by sparking conversations and encouraging everyone to stand up and call out inappropriate and unlawful behaviour.
It features a series of different thought-provoking messages, all starting with a different letter of the alphabet and based on a night time related theme, and each referring to sexual consent.
The campaign, developed by the Consent Coalition, builds on the award-winning A-Z of Consent campaign launched in Nottingham last year.
It has been funded by the Safer Streets programme, after the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire secured £3 million from the Home Office to fund projects to increase public safety across Nottinghamshire by tackling neighbourhood crime and antisocial behaviour and violence against women and girls.
Working with partner agencies at Nottingham City Council, Nottingham Express Transit and Nottingham City Transport, the new campaign is being launched in Nottingham today.
A tram and a bus wrapped completely in the Night Time A-Z designs were unveiled at Nottingham Express Transit’s Wilkinson Street depot.
“This campaign is big, bold, eye-catching and unashamedly edgy because we want to provoke big conversations that help everyone be clear that sex without consent is rape,” said Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry.
“People might find this a challenging subject to talk about with their loved ones. That’s why this campaign puts the issue front and centre as people travel around Nottingham and helps to give people a starting point to ensure we don’t shy away from conversations about consent.
“With better education comes better behaviour and we hope this campaign will help to prevent sexual violence and ensure there is zero tolerance for perpetrators and more support for survivors.”
Another of the Night Time A-Z slogans is ‘I for Intervene’ which encourages people to call out and report unlawful behaviour that they witness, by distracting, reporting and describing what they see, if it is safe to do so.
Others include ‘U for Upskirting’, ‘K for Kink’ and ‘G for Groping.’
Nottingham City Council Interim Director of Communities Colin Wilderspin said: “I’m pleased to join our partners in supporting this campaign as part of our ongoing commitment to tackling sexual violence. The Night-Time A-Z of Consent, created by sexual violence specialists, builds on the success of last year’s national campaign, looking at consent issues that might arise more often at night, such as flirting, groping and spiking.
“These are issues that it’s important not to shy away from and instead share them in public spaces, so the campaign material that will be seen all around the city on buses and trams is a great way of reaching people with these important messages.
“Consent should be at the heart of all relationships and we continue to hold a zero tolerance stance against sexual violence and abuse, by supporting survivors, challenging perpetrators and educating everyone on the importance of consent.”
Louise Graham, Sexual Violence Lead for the Nottingham Crime and Drugs Partnership and Nottingham Consent Coalition Co-ordinator, said: “What does consent mean? How do we talk about it? Why is it so important?
“These are just some of the questions that are answered in our new Night Time A-Z of Consent campaign, which looks at consent themes that might occur more often at night. This time, we're talking about how to keep people and their peers safe on a night out, and encouraging positive sexual behaviours that promote respect, equality, and most importantly... consent.
“Our original A-Z of Consent campaign has been shared all over the country, with over 47,000 pageviews on our website and reaching over 2.5 million people on social media. We’re so proud of the Night Time A-Z of Consent and grateful to all our partners who have supported this campaign.”
Superintendent James Woolley, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Sexual offences are some of the most serious crimes we investigate.
“When an allegation is made it is our responsibility as police officers to conduct thorough investigations into what has happened, bringing perpetrators to justice and ensure that victims are supported.
“We understand the results of our investigations will have a very profound impact on the lives of alleged perpetrators and survivors so welcome any initiative that serves to raise awareness, educate and challenge people about what is and isn’t consensual activity.”
A number of other projects have also been funded by Safer Streets in Nottingham.
These include a new Safe Spaces van, staffed by Community Protection Officers, which offers a mobile space to support for anyone who feels vulnerable in the night time economy in Nottingham.
New CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras and free burglary prevention devices for victims of break-ins are among a range of other interventions.
Posted on Friday 12th May 2023