Bristol unites in zero tolerance of harassment of women with Bristol Nights campaign

November 7, 2023

City demonstrates its zero tolerance response to sexual harassment with expert training of Bristol’s night-time venue staff as well as Light Parade of unity through the city centre

A recent survey highlights that 100% of women in Bristol have experienced sexual harassment in some form. The Bristol Nights campaign aims to tackle this type of harassment head on.

The project has worked toward training 1,000 night-time economy workers in dealing with incidents of sexual harassment. The anti-sexual harassment training has been specially designed in collaboration with Night Time Economy and VAWG agencies, and delivered in partnership with Bristol City Centre BID. It has been developed by High Streets Task Force Expert, Joanne Cox Brown.

This training supports venue staff to implement a zero tolerance approach in Bristol, while also promoting the need for anyone witnessing unwanted behaviour in the city’s night-time economy to immediately call it out to staff. The project also includes a limited bursary for low-income and freelance night-time workers to be able to undertake the training. 

Nighttime workers and businesses can sign up now to take part in the anti sexual-harassment training. 

The campaign from Bristol City Council utilises £282,000 to improve women’s safety, following a successful bid for the Home Office’s Safety of Women at Night Fund. 

Carly Heath, Bristol Night-Time Economy Advisor, said: 

“Improving the safety of women at night is vital, and a challenge which cannot be achieved without allies throughout the city. Following a two month research phase involving a range of Bristol audiences, this project will seek to improve public understanding of what constitutes harassment and how often it happens. We know that many crimes against women at night go unreported but are widely witnessed. This campaign invites bystanders to call out bad behaviour, while empowering those working in the night-time economy to recognise and execute a zero tolerance response to harassment in their venues and workplaces.

“Our nightlife communities care about the safety and wellbeing of people enjoying our night time. This is such an important message. We need to let the people of Bristol know that women deserve to feel welcome in the city after dark and as such, we invite all Bristolians to join our zero tolerance approach to sexual harassment.”  

“Survey responses also demonstrate that the behaviours which the public feel constitutes sexual harassment are also widely debated. This is telling of the complexity of the issue and that a campaign highlighting what constitutes sexual harassment as well as actions they should take when faced with an incident of harassment is so critical.” 

The campaign started with the ‘Shine A Light’ Parade. On the 24th of March 2022, people from the night-time economy in Bristol led groups through the city streets, dressed in and carrying lights. The parade ended at Lloyd’s Amphitheatre where speakers and artists inspired the crowds with performances, poems and stories which invited participants to join together in a zero tolerance approach to the harassment of women in the city. 

More than 1,000 billboards and posters have been placed across the city, and content will be shared on social media to raise awareness and direct people to the campaign website for resources and support.