image of Editor
By Angela Hamilton

Senior Staff Writer

7 February 2022

| | 3 min read


Safer Nights for Women

“Fun without fear” is what women are entitled to says PCC Kim McGuinness as a region-wide campaign to promote women’s safety at night

Fun without fear campaign graphic

“FUN without fear” is a new awareness campaign from Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness alongside Rape Crisis Tyneside and Northumberland. 

The campaign speaks up for the rights of women across the area and aims to promote behaviour change in men, encourage reporting and signpost victims to help and support. 

The Northumbria Police force area is regularly cited as one of the safest places to live, work but incidents of sexual harassment, and other serious crimes against women do happen everywhere in the country and since the Sarah Everard tragedy in London, male violence against women has been made an urgent national priority. 

The Commissioner believes society needs real change and wants to see the North East leading the way. 

The vibrant eye-catching campaign, supported by all six local authorities and Northumbria Police, focuses on women’s safety in the night-time economy and ensuring they are supported. Posters can be found in public spaces as well as digital and social media channels. It features information on how to get support as well as messages around zero tolerance and reassurance that action is being taken. 

The project also features vulnerability training for those working in the night time economy - delivered by Northumbria Violence Reduction Unit and the expansion of Northumbria Police’s Operation Cloak, which protects vulnerable party-goers and catch offenders. 

The campaign complements other campaigns promoting women’s safety in other public places such as on public transport or out in the region’s parks. Together, it is hoped women will be safe and feel safe throughout the region. 

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “I love that cities and towns across our region are known for offering the best night out; this campaign is about making sure we safest too. Women have the right to feel safe whatever they are doing; whether they are on the dance floor or walking home from work. 

“There is a real passion amongst everyone involved - this is us coming together to say that we just won’t stand for it in Tyne and Wear and Northumberland. Being grabbed, followed, touched up – whatever - it’s all very, very wrong. 

“I want this campaign to make things crystal clear – these things aren’t acceptable, they should be reported and the support is there ready and waiting for you; we believe you and want to help.”

Northumbria Police Assistant Chief Constable Neil Hutchison said: “We fully support this campaign which builds on the extensive work we do with partners to ensure our region remains one of the safest in the country to enjoy a night out. 

“This includes working with local authorities, charities, businesses, licensees, door supervisors, hotel staff and taxi drivers, so we can all come together to create a safe and friendly environment. 

“In 2019, we also launched a pioneering pilot scheme known as Operation Cloak in Newcastle city centre, an initiative which sees dedicated officers on patrol in our night-time economy to protect those who may be vulnerable and target anyone looking to commit offences. This has now been rolled-out elsewhere in our region and other parts of the country. 

“We are very clear that any form of harassment, inappropriate behaviour and other sexual offending is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

 “We would urge anyone who has been a victim to come forward – we are here for you, we will support you and we are committed to bringing offenders to justice.”

Councillor Clare Penny-Evans, Chair of Safe Newcastle and Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Public Safety at Newcastle City Council, said “Newcastle is a friendly city where women and girls should feel safe and be safe when they are out, whatever the time of day or night, which is why we have prioritised our work in this area. 

“Harassment, unwanted attention and violent or abusive behaviour can be very frightening and leave women feeling vulnerable.

“We look forward to working with the PCC, on the Safer Nights for Women campaign.  This is about making it very clear that this type of behaviour is not welcome and won’t be tolerated in our city and that, if and when it does happen here, we will work with the police to hold the perpetrators to account.”

Find out more about the FUN without fear campaign on the PCC website.

The campaign has been funded following a successful bid to the Home Office’s ‘Safety of Women at Night’ Fund.