New campaign launched to raise awareness of rape and sexual assault
Revellers are being asked who's walking them home and who's buying them drinks, as a new campaign is launched across Avon and Somerset.
The series of posters and awareness cards which feature cartoon type stick men challenges views and stereotypes and explores the issue of boundaries and the consequences of over stepping the mark and having fail to get consent.
It also talks to both men and women about their personal safety when they are out and about.
It comes as the party season draws ever nearer and statistics highlight that over 90 per cent of victims of rape and sexual assault know the person who committed the crime against them, and nearly half of all those incidents take place over the weekend.
Chief Superintendent Sarah Crew who heads up the rape and sexual assault campaign said: "Rape and sexual assault in Avon and Somerset is a rare crime and the vast majority of people have a fun safe night out without any problems.
"Reported rape accounts for less than 1% of total crime in Avon and Somerset and serious sexual assault accounts for just over 1%
"While these statistics are very low it's important to make sure people are aware of personal safety when they're out and about. We're not here to tell you not to have fun but we want you to think about things like who's buying you and drink and who's walking you home.
"Just because someone is drunk and flirting does not mean they want to have sex, and walking someone home isn't an invitation. You must be clear and get consent otherwise you could face some serious consequences."
Across the force we want people to let their hair down and not their guard, so we've compiled a list of hints and tips to think about before you go out and when you're out.
Think about your drinks
- Pace your drinks and drink plenty of water.
- Always try to eat something before a night out.
- Don't leave your drink unattended, even when going to the toilet.
- Do not share or exchange drinks.
- Never accept a drink from anyone you do not completely trust.
Friends stay together
- If you go into town with your mates then all leave together. Never let your friends go off alone or with someone they do not know. Alcohol can cloud your judgement.
- If you or your friends do decide to go it alone make sure your friends know where you have gone and that you have your mobile to hand. Text them when you arrive to let them know you are safe.
Take safe transport
- Try your hardest to pre-book a taxi before going out and arrange to be picked up from a safe and well-lit meeting point.
- Ensure the taxi you ordered is the one you get into. If you can check the licence plate and make a note of the number.
- If you do get separated from your mates book a taxi from a firm you know and trust. Don't flag a car down.
- If you get in a cab alone, text your mates and let them know you're OK, also tell them when you get home so they know you're safe.
- Our advice is simple; where possible don't walk home alone at night. If you can't avoid it, stick to well lit roads and walk in the middle of the pavement. Do not take short cuts.
- Don't walk and text, listen to music or chat on your phone. This can be a distraction and you will be less aware of what is going on around you. Distractions can make you vulnerable.
- If you think you are being followed, cross the street several times if necessary. If you still think you are being followed, walk to the busiest area you can find or knock on somebody's door. If you have a phone you can call us on 101 or 999.