A new campaign, #Don’tCrossTheLine, has been introduced to help end harassment and misogyny on nights out in East London.
It was launched in response to reports from Shoreditch residents and venues that there has been a rise in misogynistic behaviour in the night-time economy since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “Tackling violence against women and girls is a priority for Tower Hamlets Council, and we know it can be linked to sexual harassment and abuse in the night-time economy.
“Partnering with our neighbouring boroughs, Hackney, and the City of London, we’re calling out any abuse and harassment and making it clear it will not be tolerated.”
The movement uses targeted messaging, and listing behaviours that are not tolerated in venues in Hackney, Tower Hamlets, and the City of London. The list of forbidden actions includes touching, groping, staring, or grabbing.
These actions were flagged using insight work, which demonstrated that over 200 young men in Hackney believe that there isn’t enough awareness about what actions and behaviours are illegal.
The partnership campaign will be used to target Shoreditch, Dalston, and surrounding areas by calling out unwanted behaviour and highlighting that harassment is a crime.
The launch comes during the UN’s 16 days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
Office for National Statistics research shows that in March 2022, nearly 800,000 women aged 16 and over had experienced sexual assault.
The results of a survey published by UN Women in March 2021 show that 97% of young women in the UK said they had been sexually harassed, and 80% reported experiencing sexual harassment in public spaces.
Councillor Susan Fajana-Thomas, OBE, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Regulatory Services, said: “Officers from Tower Hamlets, Hackney, and the City Corporation will be out with the police over the festive period to raise awareness about sexual harassment and support venues to tackle it. We’re also continuing to expand our Hackney Nights scheme, providing training and resources to create safer nights out in our venues.”
The Metropolitan Police have been supporting the project by organising additional enforcement activities in each of the boroughs, including safety briefings for bars and clubs, pop-up welfare events, and CCTV networks.
The City of London Police have also been increasing safety initiatives to protect women on nights out in the City and Shoreditch, including training bar staff on the dangers of drink spiking and increasing police patrols.
James Thomson, Chair of the City of London Police Authority Board, said: “Both the City Police and the City Corporation have a number of important initiatives to support this, including Walk and Talk, Operation Reframe, Active Bystander training, and our recently launched Christmas campaign.
“Together we are addressing the harmful attitudes, systems, and behaviours that continue gender inequality and violence.”