Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Sexual violence prevention campaign leaves no room for guessing

With Christmas party season fast approaching, Wellington Police are again rolling out their award-winning sexual violence prevention campaign ‘Don’t Guess the Yes‘ this summer.

First launched in 2018, in response to a concerning number of alcohol-fuelled sexual assault reports, Wellington Police teamed up with Hospitality New Zealand, Wellington City Council, Respect Ed Aotearoa, Victoria University of Wellington and the Students’ Association and Massey University and the Massey Students’ Association to spread the message and work collaboratively to keep people safe.

Street posters are going up around the Central Business District (CBD) and approximately 100 ‘Don’t Guess the Yes’ t-shirts have been distributed to hospitality staff.

Senior Sergeant Ben Quinn, who pioneered the initiative has handed over the reins to Detective Sergeant Jacqui Rodger whose portfolio of work is focused on partnerships and Adult Sexual Assault (ASA) prevention.

“This Sexual Violence Prevention Campaign aims to positively alter peoples alcohol consumption attitudes and behaviours relating to sexual consent,” said Snr Sgt Quinn.

The campaign is offender focused with a target audience of 18 to 30-year-old males.

This year, targeted digital marketing is being planned to increase the reach to this audience.

Following the success in Wellington over the past few years, Don’t Guess the Yes will be launching for the first time in Auckland next week.

In addition to raising public awareness around consent, the campaign shows hospitality industry workers what they can practically do to look after patrons. A large number of businesses are signed up to participate in the campaign.

A workshop for the hospitality sector is provided as part of the campaign. It gives staff the necessary skills and confidence to identify problematic situations, empowering them to step in and help patrons that might be at risk.

The campaign will be shared on social media this week, with posters going up in bars around the city too. A separate bar-facing poster displays reminders for what bar staff can do to prevent or intervene in a possibly risky situation.

“This concept is designed to encourage people to change and challenge attitudes around sexual consent and alcohol consumption,” said Snr Sgt Quinn.

“We will be visiting bars in central Wellington next week, educating bar staff and talking with them about the campaign, the aim and what they can do to get involved. We’ll also be out with Wellington District frontline Police staff from the Public Safety Teams, Wellington ASA, and some members of the Hāpai Ake team from Wellington City Council.

“Working together, we’re aiming to build on the good work that has already been done in previous years to continue educating the public about healthy sexual behaviour, what consent is, and why it’s important.

“We all want Wellington to be a safe place to socialise with vibrant nightlife. With this initiative we’re sending a clear message that sexual assault and abuse won’t be tolerated in our city.”

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