Anti-Rape Publicity Campaign
23 Mar 2009
A public information campaign to help reduce the incidence of rape is being advertised in Belfast, Londonderry and at the province’s universities over the busy social Easter period. This is a joint initiative by the Police Service and DHSSPS, supported by the NIO Community Safety Unit.
The ‘Be SMART’ campaign will run in pubs and clubs with specific messages for young men and women. The campaign, which was piloted in December 2008, urges women to watch how much they drink on a night out and warns men that sex without consent is rape.
Although figures show that the number of rapes is down, police believe there is a need to provide advice to those most at risk. The campaign is in addition to normal patrolling activities, which provide reassurance and protection.
Police, in partnership with the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, are funding the campaign in the busy nightlife areas of Belfast and Derry as well as at universities. The ‘Be SMART’ campaign will feature in washroom posters at entertainment venues.
Head of the Police Service’s Rape Crime Unit, Detective Superintendent Karen Baxter, said: “This campaign was piloted last Christmas and the indications are that it has contributed towards a reduction in this type of crime. The overwhelming majority of people we’ve spoken to have welcomed the initiative for its simplicity and focus.
“The posters have a clear message for both men and women. We want them to be responsible and to be aware of how much they are drinking.
“Sex without consent is rape and any subsequent conviction will have life changing implications for the victim and the accused.
“The message is clear - alcohol will affect your judgement. Look after each other, know how you’re getting home, make sure you get a legitimate form of transport home, don’t walk home alone at night and above all, make sure consent exists.”
Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said: “Sexual violence in any form is absolutely unacceptable. Young people need to be aware of the risks posed by excessive drinking and the impact this can have on their behaviour.
“I hope this campaign will encourage people to make more informed, responsible and healthy decisions about their alcohol intake and also to think about the possible harmful consequences of impaired judgement.”
Read full details of the ‘Be SMART’ campaign