As indoor hospitality venues reopen today, I’m launching a campaign with The Star and other partners to challenge sexual harassment in the sector (read more here). We’re asking all our great cafes, restaurants, bars, pubs, clubs and hotels to commit to opposing sexual harassment in their venues and dealing with any complaints.
Experiences shared by school students during my Big Conversation prompted me to plan the campaign, which was delayed by the pandemic. During that time, we’ve seen the experiences of harassment shared by so many women and girls following the murder of Sarah Everard, and the campaign by school students.
Working with The Star and Know the Line, I’ve pulled together a range of other partners including the City Council, the Chamber of Commerce, the TUC, and South Yorkshire Police to launch the campaign – with support from Sheffield Business Improvement District.
Most importantly we’ve had great backing from the hospitality sector who want to ‘build back better’ from Covid – with the active support of UNIGHT and SCR Hospitality as well as individual venues. We’ve contacted the city’s venues (see our letter below) asking them to sign up to the campaign, display the publicity and work with us to put an end to sexual harassment for staff and customers.
Dear venue owner/manager,
We know how hard it’s been for cafes, restaurants, hotels, bars, pubs, clubs and other venues – and for all the customers who’ve missed the chance to enjoy your services. We hope that we can build back quickly, but also better.
One of the ways we can do so is through a new commitment to tackle sexual harassment, responding to the concerns raised by women across the country following the appalling murder of Sarah Everard.
All of us want women and girls to enjoy our venues free of harassment, whether they are customers or staff. But sometimes we don’t know it’s happening because nobody calls it out. It’s not always easy when issues are not talked about.
So, following the success of initiatives in Sheffield such as ‘Ask for Angela’, our campaign asks venues to make a public pledge against all sexual harassment, sending a positive message to everyone. While many businesses already have initiatives to ensure the respectful treatment of staff and customers, this Sheffield-wide campaign showcases the industry’s commitment to come together to combat harassment.
Our pledge (below), backed by a wide range of local partners, also makes a commitment to treat any complaints of harassment seriously:
As we build back better from Covid-19, we commit to:
Providing a great environment for all our customers and staff.
Protecting everyone with zero tolerance of sexual harassment.
Promoting these values and responding seriously to any complaints about inappropriate behaviour.
Signing up provides your staff and customers with a statement of your values and the reassurance that they will be supported if they experience inappropriate behaviour. This is just another way that we can showcase the brilliant businesses that Sheffield has to offer; we care about our communities, and we can’t wait to be back together again.
All hospitality businesses can take part as indoor facilities start to reopen from 17th May, and those that are willing to sign the pledge will be promoted in The Star and on social media, given resources to publicise their commitment to Know the Line, and play their part in putting an end to sexual harassment.
If you would like to sign up, or would like further information, just drop us a note: firstname.lastname@example.org
The campaign is supported by:
Paul Blomfield MP
Nancy Fielder, Editor, The Star
Cllr Terry Fox, Leader, Sheffield City Council
Christine Rose, Chair, Know the Line: Campaign against Sexual Harassment
Nick Simmonite, Chair, UNIGHT
Tracey Ford, Best Bar None Sheffield, Community Safety Partnership
Alison Higgins, Sheffield DACT
Gordon Jackson, Chair, SCR Hospitality
Louisa Harrison-Walker, Executive Director, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce
Chief Supt Shelley Hemsley, Sheffield District Commander, South Yorkshire Police
Diane Jarvis, Manager, Sheffield Business Improvement District
Martin Mayer, Secretary, Sheffield TUC