Bristol leaders commit to becoming a Zero Tolerance City
16 March 2015
The University of Bristol and other leading organisations in the city joined the Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, on Saturday 7 March to pledge their support to tackle gender-based violence.
The campaign to make Bristol a city with a zero-tolerance approach to gender-based violence and abuse is being led by the Bristol Women’s Commission as part of its work to identify key issues for women and gender equality in the city.
The pledge is a commitment by organisations to play their part in creating a Zero Tolerance City. The organisations will pledge to work together to tackle all forms of gender-based violence, support those affected and encourage bystanders to report violence and abuse.
They will also commit to at least one additional activity such as engaging in a campaign, running extra training for staff or creating safe spaces for victims of gender-based violence.
Gender-based violence includes anything from domestic abuse against men, women or children, Female Genital Mutilation, sexual exploitation and sexual or homophobic bullying.
Local organisations to have made the pledge so far include the University of Bristol, the University of the West of England, First, Avon and Somerset Police, City of Bristol College, and Bristol News and Media.
Professor Judith Squires, Pro Vice-Chancellor at Bristol, said: ‘The University of Bristol is committed to ensuring that no student or staff member has to “put up” with sexual violence or harassment. We are working with the University of the West of England to share and develop practice in relation to ensuring sexual violence and harassment is not tolerated, that those who commit such acts are disciplined as appropriate for their actions, and to actively work to promote a “safe space” for students both on and off campus.”
The Home Office estimates that 14,273 women and girls aged 16-59 in Bristol have been a victim of domestic abuse in the past year. This does not include the men and people over 59 years old who can also be victims.
The pledge-signing was part of a day of activities at M-Shed organised by Bristol Women’s Voice and the Bristol Women’s Commission to mark International Women’s Day. They are encouraging as many organisations as possible to pledge their support to Bristol becoming a Zero Tolerance City.
Bristol Women’s Commission was set up by the Mayor to identify key issues for women and gender equality in Bristol whilst producing an agreed Women’s Strategy for Bristol with a specific, time limited and practical action plan for its delivery.
Bristol City Council has developed a toolkit for employers to assist them to develop policies and procedures to assist with domestic violence and abuse so that organisations can get support with delivering against their pledge.