New Drinkaware campaign to counter harassment

Alcohol education charity Drinkaware is launching a new campaign aimed at countering drunken sexual harassment as over 70% of young people responded to a study saying it was something they were used to seeing on a night out.

Introduced as part of its already on-going ‘If You Wouldn’t Sober, You Shouldn’t Drunk’ campaign, the new ‘It’s Ok to Ask’ initiative is designed to encourage bystanders to speak out when they witness someone being harassed by a drunken individual.

The campaign is being rolled out in cinemas, on the All4 digital channel, online and in venues across the North West of England in particular, where binge drinking levels are among the highest in the UK.

It is designed to encourage those who see sexual harassment taking place to either step in where it is safe to do so on the side of the person being targeted or alert staff and security to the problem.

The mantras of the campaign are: ‘Spot It’ (is something going on?), ‘Check It’ (is it safe to intervene?) and ‘Speak Out’ (if safe, ask the person being harassed if they need help or speak to security).

Venues and bar operators are also being encouraged to participate and help crack down on such behaviour.

The initiative has been introduced following new research by Drinkaware and YouGov that 72% of 2,013 18-24 year olds surveyed said they had seen some form of sexual harassment on a night out – with sexual harassment being defined as someone being on the receiving end of inappropriate sexual comments or abuse, unwanted physical attention and touching or a mixture of both.

Among young women 79% said they “expected” inappropriate behaviour to take place either to themselves or their friends when out in a club or bar and 63% of women and 26% of men surveyed said they had been sexual harassed to some extent in the past.

Drinkaware chief executive Elaine Hindal said: “Drunken sexual harassment is seen by too many young people as part and parcel of a night out. The aim of the ‘It’s OK to Ask’ campaign is to empower people to challenge this behaviour.

“Operators can play their part by supporting bystanders who come to them for help and by taking the issue seriously, helping to foster a positive and safe social environment where drunken sexual harassment is not tolerated.”

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