Night time safety asked and actioned

Firstly I'd like to say thank you to all the students who attended our Ask and Action Forum on the evening of Monday the 24th, as well as a thank you to Bernie Topham, Gemma Sands, Clare Parry and Peter Rackham for coming and speaking on behalf of their organisations.

Oct 29, 2021

Firstly I'd like to say thank you to all the students who attended our Ask and Action Forum on the evening of Monday the 24th, as well as a thank you to Bernie Topham, Gemma Sands, Clare Parry and Peter Rackham for coming and speaking on behalf of their organisations.

It was amazing to have such an open discussion with all attendees of the forum about the current reports of spiking as well as general night time safety measures, and from these we've been able to create an action plan along with what we have already been working on. I would also like to thank those who attended the student council this week where another open conversation around spiking measures and drug use was discussed, this led to a new Have Your Say motion being developed to bring about more positive change.-

As part of our response to the 'Girls night in' boycott we hosted a film night for those who wanted to participate. Additionally it was lovely to see the variety of replacement socials that various societies held in solidarity, from joint dinners between Women's Rugby and Cheer to bowling from American Football then Theatrical Arts hosting an online zoom quiz. It is clear to see that this issue is being called out by a many of our student body.

We are aware of the current issues and fears surrounding nightlife, however we feel as though everyone should all be able to enjoy their lives as they wish; spike perpetrators and creeps will not stop us and we will reclaim a safer nightlife. We stand with victims and put full blame on those individuals who spike and that is why we have been working with local night time economy partners for increased searches and sniffers dogs, as well as lobbying for mandatory Consent training for all students of the University of Portsmouth. However we are aware individuals may still feel as though they want more personal protection, so we have bought a variety of spike prevention tools such as cup covers, bottle stops and straws as well as test papers that can be dipped into a drink presumed to be spiked to find out if it is safe to drink.

Throughout November, from the Union we will be providing our own fully staffed welfare stand from 7pm till 3am in Guildhall walk on Purple Wednesdays. On these we will be providing all our spike prevention tools, food and drink, plus warm and comfortable clothing.

During the Reclaim our Night special on the 3rd of November we will be offering a walking bus system with Union staff, to ensure no one has to walk home alone. We are currently in conversation with the university to find a long term solution for this; options being considered include a night bus, minibus or taxi service.

Whilst we work on implementing consent, harassment and bystander training we will extract some key facts and tips to share, not only to state what behaviours are unacceptable but also how to call out unacceptable behaviours from those around you.

What can you do? Look out for your peers, take the voluntary welcome ambassador training through the wellbeing service, report and call out unacceptable behaviour, continue to take safety measures while out and don't let creeps ruin your experience whilst here at University.

To report any issues, at the time approach any member of staff and say 'I need help', then follow up by either reporting to the police or use the university's report and support form which you can use to report something that has happened to you or to someone you know, either anonymously or with your name.

If you have any queries or questions, please feel free to contact me at natasha.layley@upsu.net

Your Welfare Officer, Natasha

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