As part of UEA’s “Safe Campus, Safe City” initiative, the university has launched a campaign to make Norwich nights out safer by raising awareness on how to stay safe and improving how allegations of harassment and assault are handled on and off campus.
UEA received £35,000 from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) for the ‘Student Community Safeguarding Partnership’ which will go towards hiring two new members of staff to run the scheme and making connections between on campus and off campus organisations, including clubs, bars and the police, stronger in order to prevent and tackle any reports of harassment.
Vice Chancellor for UEA, Professor David Richardson said “What’s exciting about this initiative is that, as well as working with students to help them – and other young people – safeguard themselves, we’ll develop new approaches with the city’s pubs and clubs to help identify and deal with harassment.”
Prof. Richardson is also one of the 15 members of the Universities UK organisation Taskforce, who published a report examining ‘violence against women, harassment and hate crime affecting university students’. Recommendations have been made following the report on how to tackle these issues, which is where UEA’s new initiative stems from.
Despite Norwich being named one of the safest cities in the UK, clubbers are still often targets of harassment. Third year History student, Libby Avery, comments on her experience at the Bedford’s Crypt: “I was at a really small venue and it was packed and I felt someone touching my bum. Everyone was dancing so close together, too close to move or turn around to stop him. I went home straight away because it upset me so much.” However, Miss Avery stated she wouldn’t have been able to identify the person in order to report them.
When speaking to the General Manager, Jonathan Carr, of Bedford’s about the initiative, he said: “We’ve never had any reported incidents (of harassment). We do everything we can and feel we are one of the safest bars in Norwich, but anything to help tackle it is a good thing.”