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Women's Safety Statement

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Thank you to everyone who shared their stories and suggestions with us after our recent statement about Sarah Everard and women’s safety. We wanted to take this opportunity to highlight your stories, and how we have been working to tackle sexual violence in recent years.

Many of you regard the SU as a safe night out, but we know we are not immune to this endemic issue. We recognise that some of these stories took place in our building, so we want to share how we’ve been working to tackle sexual violence in recent years and better support you. We have not included all details where identifying information has been shared. 

 

Trigger Warning by KeeleSU

 

We will continue to work hard to protect students and are constantly striving to ensure our venue is safe for everyone.

  • We train bar staff annually on taking disclosures of sexual violence 
  • We launched our ‘Ask Angela’ campaign for students who feel unsafe or threatened in our building
  • In partnership with the University, we train new students every year around consent and sexual violence as part of our #NeverOK campaign
  • We launched a series of awareness-raising posters around consent and sexual violence, and will be rebranding and relaunching them ready for the next academic year 
  • We regularly sit on sexual violence disciplinary panels so there is always someone to represent students
  • We have informed changes to the University’s sexual violence discipline policies and processes
  • We run a free safety bus service, ensuring that Keele students can return home safely to accommodation both on and off campus, in the evening and the early hours of the morning. In 2020, the fleet of minibuses which serve as the Safety way bus were upgraded to new vehicles so we can ensure the highest standard of safety.
  • Over the last three years, Keele SU has invested £25,767 in improving its CCTV system. Please note that like anywhere using CCTV, due to General Data Protection Regulations, we only hold the data for a maximum of 31 days, except where an incident is under investigation.  
  • We were awarded the Best Bar None Platinum Award in 2020. Best Bar None is an accreditation scheme awarded by the Home Office, with the goal of helping provide a safer night out to all.  Best Bar None (bbnuk.com)

Based on your suggestions, we will:

  • Lobby the University to install better lighting for the darker parts of campus
  • Approach the University Estates team about on-campus facilities staff entering student rooms without reasonable notice
  • Highlight some of our clubs who run regular self-defence classes
  • Continue to raise awareness of consent, spiking and student safety on nights out through our #NeverOK campaign


Since sharing our statement, the stories of several black women in the UK who failed to receive the same media attention as Sarah Everard have been shared on social media and in the news.

We have become aware of the disappearance and murder of two sisters, Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, whose family feel that they were left to search for them without the support they expected from the police.

Two officers were arrested and suspended after allegations they took selfies with their bodies: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-56450969

We have also heard about the death of Blessing Olesungun, who was found last September on Bexhill seafront in Sussex. Her family and many others feel there has not been a full investigation over her death: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-56416399

We share your outrage that these black women have not received the same level of police, media and public attention as Sarah Everard. The lack of response to Bibaa, Nicole and Blessing’s lives reminds us of how institutional racism runs through our society and why we must continue to support #BlackLivesMatter.

We feel it is important to highlight their stories and to once again take this opportunity to point to our #NeverOK campaign and some of the support services available for victims of sexual violence, harassment and relationship abuse both at Keele and in the local area:
https://www.keele.ac.uk/students/lifeoutsideofstudy/neverok/sexualviolence/getsupport/ 
 

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