Po­lice step­ping up sum­mer cam­paign

Here comes the sun­flower

Gloucestershire Echo - - FRONT PAGE - Paul WILT­SHIRE gloslive­[email protected]­plc.com

WOMEN are be­ing urged to help paint a pic­ture of the level of ha­rass­ment that goes on in Chel­tenham dur­ing race week.

A #metoo cam­paign has been launched to gen­er­ate a safer at­mos­phere in the town when tens of thou­sands of vis­i­tors pour in for the high pro­file sport­ing event in March.

A sex­ual abuse char­ity will meet po­lice and bor­ough coun­cil of­fi­cials next month to look at what can be done to help stamp out in­ci­dents of ver­bal and phys­i­cal ha­rass­ment.

Glouces­ter­shire Rape and Sex­ual Abuse Sup­port has started us­ing the #metooatche­l­tenham­races hash­tag on Twit­ter, and has posted a sur­vey which it wants peo­ple to com­plete.

It asks peo­ple to de­tail abuse they have suf­fered, and to say whether they re­ported it to the po­lice.

Posters have been pro­duced which urge women to re­port in­ci­dents of ev­ery­thing from cat­call­ing to grop­ing, and which ask bystanders to in­ter­vene if they see some­one be­ing ha­rassed.

Grasac chief of­fi­cer Mag­gie Ste­wart said there could be an un­pleas­ant edge to Chel­tenham in race week.

”I’m from New­cas­tle, which is a race town, and I thought it seemed a bit odd

that peo­ple were say­ing ‘don’t go out in race week’ here. But then I re­alised that it wasn’t very safe around town. There’s an edge to it,” she said.

Chel­tenham Bor­ough Coun­cil said the cam­paign was aimed at rais­ing aware­ness of sex­ual vi­o­lence.

Cabi­net mem­ber for healthy life­styles Coun­cil­lor Flo Clu­cas said: ‘’The aim of the cam­paign - which has been very well re­ceived - is to ad­dress the dif­fer­ent types of sex­ual ha­rass­ment and vi­o­lence peo­ple face and to en­sure that any­one af­fected feels able to get the help they need.

Bosses at the race­course have given the new cam­paign their full back­ing.

A spokes­woman said: “The fes­ti­val at Chel­tenham is about four fan­tas­tic days of world-class rac­ing and fun. We take a zero tol­er­ance ap­proach to an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour and of course any kind of ha­rass­ment is com­pletely un­ac­cept­able, so we fully sup­port this cam­paign.”

In­spec­tor John Turner from Glouces­ter­shire po­lice said ear­lier this year that race week was ‘a very safe event.’

At the launch of the cam­paign, he said: “Re­ports of sex­ual vi­o­lence don’t tra­di­tion­ally in­crease dur­ing race week, which is a very safe event, but Grasac has raised con­cerns that they be­lieve some of­fences, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the night time econ­omy, go un­re­ported.”

Pic­tures: Eloisa Wild­smith

THE per­fect place for a sum­mery fam­ily photo is now ready. From 9.3010.30am on a Sun­day, Cotswold Farm Park’s sun­flower meadow will be free to en­ter. For more in­fo­ma­tion visit cotswold­farm­park.co.uk/ whats-on/event/sun­flow­er­sun­days-free-event/

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