Bristol Zero Tolerance loses funding to fight sexual harassment

A Bristol initiative to tackle sexual harassment, abuse and exploitation has had its funding cut by Bristol City Council.

Bristol Zero Tolerance needs £20,000 to continue its work and they have put out an urgent appeal to raise money.

The initiative was founded by Bristol’s Women’s Commission and aims to create a “city free from gender-based violence”.

Zero Tolerance has been working closely with Avon and Somerset police to raise awareness and various organisations in the city that share the same vision.

They are committed to operating for as long as their current funding will allow, but acknowledges that people may not have much to give and is asking for people to donate whatever they can.

The initiative believes that Bristol will benefit from continued funding and support for the project. Penny Gane is the Chair of Bristol Women’s Voice and the Bristol Women’s Commission, she says:  “We are making a significant difference to people’s lives in Bristol. Last month we were pleased to secure a change in legislation, with street harassment being re-classified a hate crime. Having the funding to continue this campaign will result in more equal and fairer communities here in Bristol.”

Bristol has one of the highest rates of sexual harassment in the country, with 35% of people experiencing harassment on a weekly basis. In the last week, Avon and Somerset police have tweeted multiple appeals for information regarding instances of sexual abuse within the city, highlighting the need for initiatives like Bristol Zero Tolerance.

Posters put up around the city by Bristol Zero Tolerance

Posters put up around the city by Bristol Zero Tolerance

Bristol is the first city in the UK to implement an initiative of this kind and has received widespread support since it launched in 2015. Music venues such as Thekla, Motion and The Louisiana have signed a pledge to eliminate harassment from their establishments.

Bristol Zero Tolerance worked closely with Reclaim the Night, a campaign run by Bristol University’s Women’s Network. They hosted multiple workshops at the Student Union and marched through the city alongside hundreds of protestors on the 25th November. They have also hosted workshops and seminars with Avon and Somerset police.

Bristol Zero Tolerance says that a donation of £10 can provide “toolkits” for people who see sexual harassment happening and equip them with the knowledge of how to report and intervene. £95 will fund workshops for organisations in the city, helping them to tackle harassment in the work place.

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