Workshops to help male students better understand sexual harassment and abuse against women are being held at Northampton College, encouraging them to challenge or intervene when they see inappropriate behaviour.
The ‘Stand by Her’ training tackles harassment and cultural attitudes towards women and girls and forms part of the ongoing Safer Streets project being delivered by the Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (PFCC).
Reducing violence against women and girls is a priority for Commissioner, Stephen Mold and working in partnership with other organisations such as Northampton College is enabling projects like the ‘Stand by Her’ training to make a real difference in society.
Training sessions for more than 600 students will take place in the coming months, while 10 teachers will also undergo ‘train the trainer’ workshops to future proof the project and embed the training at the College.
The training will start conversations with men about negative attitudes and behaviours towards women and will empower participants to actively challenge derogatory and inappropriate behaviour by peers and colleagues. Harassment is often the precursor to crimes which disproportionately affect women and girls and education is key to changing the culture and make more women feel safe.
Harassment and sexual assault impact the day-to-day lives of millions of women in the UK and happens everywhere, in outside spaces, at work, in the home and online.
Principal of Northampton College, Pat Brennan-Barrett said: “Keeping our young people safe is of paramount importance to us at the college and anything we can do to start a conversation around tackling violence against women has to be a good thing.”
The training explains that an unwanted touch, an unnecessary sexual comment or a look that lasts long enough to make someone uncomfortable can be classed as harassment and challenges young men to reflect on their behaviours and the behaviours of others.
The Principal added: “We welcome this opportunity to get involved with a project that is already doing so much to change attitudes in young men towards women, and it is something we are looking forward to embedding into the college for years to come.”
Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Stephen Mold said: “This is another example of my commitment to making Northamptonshire a safer place, especially for women. ‘Stand by Her’ training shifts the focus from women keeping themselves safe to target the root cause. This intervention will challenge the culture and attitudes that can lead to further abusive behaviour. It shows how men can be allies to women and play a fundamental role in stopping violence against women and girls.
“We are delighted to be working with Northampton College to deliver ‘Stand by Her’ workshops. This partnership enables us to reach a demographic that can really help make a difference in society. I hope that others see the positive impact this will have in protecting women and girls and I invite any organisation or school to contact my office if you are interested in helping us to extend this training across the county.”