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Campaign aimed at tackling sexual violence

Campaign aimed at tackling sexual violence

Palmerston North Police in collaboration with Abuse and Rape Crisis Support Manawatu (ARCS) and local bars have launched a new campaign aimed at tackling sexual violence in the city.

Detective Johnny Oram says the focus of the campaign is to reduce and prevent sexual violence facilitated by intoxication.

"The campaign is directed at men and woman between the ages of 18 to 24, and the posters that have been designed for the campaign are aimed at getting people to make the right decisions when they are drinking," says Detective Oram.

Two A4 posters, one aimed at females and the other at males are currently being put up in bars and clubs around the city. The female one features an intoxicated woman passed out on a couch with the title — 'Don’t wake up to a nightmare', and the male one has three situations with the main title — 'No consent = No Sex'.

"Bad judgements can lead to undesirable consequences and cause you serious harm. We want people to stop and think about what they are doing. It's about making better and smarter choices when drinking but still having a great time."

"Having the support of ARCS and local bars is invaluable and greatly enhances our goal to prevent and reduce sexual offending," says Detective Oram.

Ann Kent, Manager of ARCS Manawatu, says that the campaign is not about blaming the victim if they have been drinking.

"We simply want people to be aware that alcohol does play a role in sexual violence and there are ways to reduce the risk of it happening to them."

Jason Deane, Chairperson of the Palmerston North CBD Hospitality Charter says: "Any initiative that creates a safer environment for customers has our full support, and the Charter will ensure bar staff assist with increasing awareness around this campaign."

A recent alcohol harm related survey commissioned by the local Safety Advisory Board found that nearly half of those surveyed said they had a negative experience while in town on a Friday or Saturday night. The most common negative experience was doing something they later regretted.

"Police want everyone to have a good time out on the town but at the same time we want you to be safe. Good friends don't leave their mates behind. It's important to look after yourself but look out for their welfare too," says Detective Oram.

Anyone finding themselves in a situation where they feel threatened for their immediate safety, or a member of the public is aware of a sexually violent situation unfolding, they should ring police immediately. There are also a wide range of support services available including ARCS Manawatu on (06)356 5868. An alternative is calling Victim Support on 0800 VICTIM - (0800 842 846).


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