Community safety projects and campaigns

Reducing violence against women and girls

Over 70 per cent of UK women have experienced sexual harassment in public places. Hampshire Police figures show 80 per cent of reported sexual offences in the area have a female victim. The information on this page tackles violence against women and girls. This is because we know these behaviours affect them disproportionately. Help and support is also available to anyone who experiences sexual violence or hate-based abuse.

Step up for women's safety

Sexual violence begins long before you think it does. Beliefs and attitudes towards women in our society have made some behaviours seem 'trivial' or acceptable. Have you ever seen someone getting unwanted attention on the bus or in a bar and not known how to help? Or you've felt uncomfortable speaking out when someone tells a sexist joke? Are you worried about your own behaviour?

We can all play a part in tackling harassment and sexual violence against women and girls. It is time to call out harmful behaviour - even those that seem 'trivial'- to make the island a safer and stronger place for everyone

We are developing schemes with Portsmouth City Council to tackle attitudes and behaviours that lead to violence. We will support people who have experienced harassment and sexual violence.

Supported by the Home Office and the Hampshire Police Crime Commissioner, this includes:

  • Campaigns to raise awareness of sexual harassment and violence. This is to encourage people to report incidents and seek support
  • A peer mentoring programme in schools. This is to help young people recognise the signs of inappropriate and violent behaviour and how to be a positive influence in the community
  • A Safe Space style scheme. Venues will have training to be a 'We Stand Together' venue. This provides a safe space for anyone who has experienced sexual violence or harassment.

More information here – Safer Portsmouth

How you can help

There are safe ways to step in if you see or hear something that isn’t right, without putting yourself or others in danger. Even small acts of recognition and support will make a difference:

  • spot the signs​ – if someone looks upset or frightened, like they're trying to move away from someone, or responds when you make eye-contact there may be a chance to offer support.
  • step in safely ​ – try and get someone else to help you, like a member of staff, security or a community warden. Causing a distraction, by dropping something or striking up a conversation, can help to break up a situation.
  • If you feel it's safe, clearly calling out someone's behaviour or showing disapproval with your body language or expressions may make someone think twice about what they're doing.
  • Report it – if you see or hear something that isn’t right, report it. If you're in a pub or venue, you can speak to member of staff or security. On public transport, you can speak to the driver or guard. You can report crimes to the police on 101 or visit Hampshire Police. In an emergency, always call 999.

Find out more at: Enough Campaign.

Worried about your own or someone else's behaviour?

It is not OK to make suggestive or sexual comments when they're clearly unwelcome, or to tell jokes about things like rape, follow or track someone, or share intimate photos without permission - including sending your own to someone before they have said it’s OK.

Find out what you can do if you're worried about your own behaviour or want to help someone you know:

  • Safer Portsmouth
  • Enough Campaign
  • Hampton Trust also offer a programme called ‘Adapt’ which is run locally on the island for anyone wanting to change their behaviour. For more information and to self-refer onto to the programme, please visit the Hampton Trust website.

Help and support

You're not alone if you’ve experienced violence or harassment. In an emergency always call 999 for help. If you are safe, but need to report a crime such as harassment, physical violence or sexual violence, call the police on 101 or visit Hampshire Police.

  • If you are experiencing domestic abuse, please get in touch with the Island’s domestic abuse support service, Paragon. Call 0800 234 6266 or Domestic Abuse - Service Details (
  • Isle of Wight Independent Sexual Violence Adviser: Hampton Trust or call: 02380 009898
  • Treetops Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC): 023 9221 0352
  • Southampton Rape Crisis: 023 8063 6313
  • Broken Rainbow (LGBT): 0300 999 5428
  • StreetSafe - the pilot service to anonymously tell the police about public places where you have felt or feel unsafe
  • Find We Stand Together venues, for a safe space to visit.

We Stand Together scheme

The 'We Stand Together' project trains businesses and venues in providing a safe and supporting space for anyone who has experienced sexual violence or harassment. Any form of gender abuse will not be tolerated at these spaces.

We are coordinating the project with our partners - People Matter, Isle of Wight Safe Places and Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service (PARCS).

Participating venues will display the 'We Stand Together' badge in their window. Visit Safer Portsmouth for a list of safe spaces.

If you own or work in a business or venue that would like to join the scheme, visit our information for businesses page.