News | 21 February 2018

Council supports sexual violence prevention initiative

Wellington City Council is collaborating with key stakeholders to support Wellington Police’s “Don’t Guess the Yes” campaign – with the goal of changing attitudes and behaviour towards sexual violence.

Previously launched by Wellington Police in December 2017, the initiative, which includes a partnership with Council, Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA), Massey Wellington Students’ Association (MAWSA), and the Sexual Abuse Prevention Network, is designed to raise awareness about the problem through videos, collateral, and a social media campaign to encourage open discussion.

Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons says this is a step in the right direction towards Council’s goal of eliminating sexual harassment in the city – and beyond.

“The #metoo campaign has shone a spotlight on the widespread nature of sexual violence and its repercussions, both here and overseas – and we are serious about tackling it head on in the Capital.

“Working with the Police, student associations, and relevant agencies is key to coming up with a coordinated plan to achieve this – and the “Don’t Guess the Yes” initiative will be an effective tool in this campaign,” says Councillor Fitzsimons.

VUWSA President Marlon Drake is glad to be on board alongside MAWSA.

“Consent isn’t a grey area, it’s a yes or it’s a no, and we want to be clear that responsible partying includes treating everyone with respect. We’re pleased to be a part of this campaign, and be able to show that we as an association and we as students are committed to changing the culture.”

Wellington Police launched the #betterdecisions awareness campaign in December 2017, encouraging people to think about sexual consent and alcohol, and assure victims they will be treated with respect and in confidence when they do come forward.

According to Wellington Police data, alcohol is a major factor in reported adult sexual assault cases in the CBD. Fiona McNamara, general manager of the Sexual Abuse Prevention Network, applauds the Police being proactive in this area, and having the support of the hospitality industry.

“In New Zealand half of all sexual assaults involve alcohol, and alcohol is the most commonly used drug to facilitate sexual violence. It is important that positive behaviour is promoted in settings in which large amounts of alcohol are consumed,” she says.

A national helpline for issues relating to sexual violence is available 24/7 on 0800 883300 or if reporting matters relating to sexual violence contact Police on 111 if it is an emergency, or 04 381 2000.