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Safer Spaces to offer sexual violence support for women at festivals

By | Published on Wednesday 9 March 2022

Safer Spaces

With many festivals gearing up for their return this summer, Safer Spaces – a new initiative offering support and education around sexual violence, harassment and abuse against women at large-scale events – has announced its official launch.

Already confirmed to have a presence at a number of festivals in the UK and internationally this summer, Safer Spaces will have its own tent where women and girls can go to simply hang out, or report incidents in private and access professional support. Organisers say that they hope providing such facilities will help more women and girls feel equipped to report incidents.

“Safer Spaces wants to eradicate VAWG [violence against women and girls] and harassment throughout society by raising awareness, training professionals and members of the community to challenge behaviours, identify abuse and respond and support people who have experienced or been impacted by assault, abuse or harassment”, says co-founder Anna MacGregor.

“As a country we are creating better services, structures and legislation to respond to VAWG, but it is not enough”, she continues. “VAWG is a systemic and longstanding issue, embedded culturally and socially. We need to engage with people directly, creating safe spaces for women and girls and educating and challenging male violence”.

She concludes: “Festivals, events and artists are uniquely positioned to really emphasise a zero tolerance approach and show women and girls that they are valued and that male violence is condemned”.

YouGov research in 2018 found that one in five festival goers had experienced sexual assault or harassment at a festival, while two fifths of young female festival goers had been subjected to unwanted sexual behaviour.

There have been a number of calls in recent years for more to be done to tackle this issue at festivals and other large-scale events, including by Safe Spaces Now – launched last year by the Strawberries & Creem festival and campaign group UN Women UK – which penned an open letter to the live music sector and announced its own on-site initiatives.

You can find out more about Safer Spaces here.