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Sue pledges support for Bristol Zero Tolerance initiative

Bristol Zero Tolerance

Eradicating gender-based violence is the aim of the Bristol Zero Tolerance initiative which Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has demonstrated her support by signing.

As the first UK city to sign the Equality Charter for Men and Women in 2013, Bristol has continued to increase its efforts to tackle the issue and the commitment is stronger than ever as the city marks the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women today.

PCC Sue Mountstevens said: “Tackling domestic and sexual violence is one of my priorities and is taken very seriously across Avon and Somerset.  No one has the right to abuse another person either physically or mentally.  In signing the pledge we can all play a part in making Bristol a safer place to live and work.  It is only by working together, with partners and local people that we can truly work towards eradicating all forms of abuse.”

Today (25 November) a new website has launched, designed to make it even easier for local businesses to pledge their support for tackling gender-based violence, abuse, exploitation and harassment in the workplace.

The new website belongs to the Bristol Zero Tolerance initiative which was launched earlier this year by the Bristol’s Women’s Commission as part of its work to identify key issues for women and gender equality in the city.

The initiative is supported by Bristol City Council, Avon and Somerset PCC, Avon and Somerset Police, Bristol University, the University of the West of England and other partners. Businesses have been able to sign the pledge since March, but it is hoped the new website will encourage more to do so.

George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, said: “Tackling gender-based violence is something I take extremely seriously and it is fundamental to Bristol being a healthy and caring city. Bristol already has a good reputation for its work in this area and we continue to work tirelessly with partners to address the issues.

“The UN’s international awareness day is a good time to reflect on what we’ve achieved so far and look at what we still need to do. Everyone can be involved with making our city a safer place – whether that’s encouraging a friend, family member or colleague to speak up, or reporting violence if you see it. I want to see the business community get on board with this idea and build the momentum behind it.”

Case study – First West of England has signed the Bristol Zero Tolerance pledge

First West of England is a major employer in the region, and Bristol’s largest bus operator.

First West of England signed the Bristol Zero Tolerance pledge earlier this year. The company is now developing its action plan further after taking initial steps to ensure employees are aware of the issues and able to access support if they need it.

The company recently signed the Bristol Zero Tolerance pledge and has taken steps to ensure employees are aware of the issues and able to access support if they need it.

James Freeman, Managing Director of First West of England, explained what the business is doing and why they wanted to be involved: “The safety of our staff and passengers is of the upmost importance to us, which is why we’ve signed the Bristol Zero Tolerance pledge.

“As part this, we have committed to continue developing our procedures for dealing with instances of abuse in the workplace, ensuring our staff are always well supported. We even have a confidential employee hotline available for anyone experiencing harassment or bullying.

“To protect the people who use our buses we’ve changed the way we train staff to put a bigger focus on customer service and keeping passengers safe. Our drivers know how to spot the signs of someone who is being harassed or bullied – and how to support people if required.

“Our new buses have safety in mind, and the vast majority now have CCTV which can help keep people safer as they travel around the city. Our drivers are out on the road 24 hours a day, seven days a week so they’re well-placed to look out for people who might need support.”

As well as the website launch, in Bristol the UN awareness day will kick off 16 days of activism and events, including an event on November 26 which will bring women together to discuss what Zero Tolerance means to them. 

Stencilled artwork will also be appearing on streets across Bristol to encourage residents to think about the issues and report incidents to Crimestoppers. 

Posted on Wednesday 25th November 2015
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