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Compass Centre launches sexual violence prevention campaign

The Compass Centre, also known as Shetland Rape Crisis, has launched a campaign aimed at helping members of the public spot and prevent sexual violence on nights out in Shetland.

The leaflets and posters, titled What to do if you think someone is in danger on a night out, will be made available from International Women’s Day, Tuesday 8th March, in public bars, hotels and taxis around the Isles.

The campaign was created with the aim of aiding members of the public to spot predatory sexual behaviour and providing them with options for how to address it.

Ellie Ratter, Prevention and Activism Worker at the Compass Centre explained: “People often approach us asking for guidance on what to do if you are worried about someone or something you’ve seen on a night out. We hear from folk that there have been times where they feel like something is wrong, but they don’t know how to address it.

She continued: “The main thread running through the campaign is safety first – if it isn’t safe to act then we advise you stay back and report what you saw – but sometimes there are steps you can take that could make all the difference. We hope that with this campaign people will feel more empowered to check-in on each other’s safety.”

The Compass Centre has collaborated with local bars, hotels, and businesses to display these leaflets in publicly accessible areas. A poster version of the leaflet has also been created to display in the bathrooms of these businesses. The Centre has also been working in collaboration with taxi companies across Shetland to roll out a smaller version of the leaflet that can be easily picked up while taking a taxi.

Lisa Ward, Service Manager, said: “Sexual violence on a night out can look like a lot of things: harassment, sexual bullying and catcalling; isolating drunk and/or underage people for the purposes of sexual activity; unwanted touching and assault; non-consensual image-taking and sharing, spiking and the use of alcohol to lower someone’s ability to consent; and rape.

“As we saw from the testimonies provided in #WisToo and from the stories we hear every day at The Compass Centre, we know these things happen in Shetland just as often as they do elsewhere. Most people, however, do not perpetrate sexual violence and most in this community want everyone to be safe from it. We hope that this campaign will help to provide some practical steps for us all to be able to achieve that.”

The Compass Centre provides free and confidential information, support and advocacy for any non-abusive person of any gender in Shetland (aged 13+) who has been affected by sexual violence at any time in their lives.

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