This International Women’s Day, 8th March 2018, Survivors’ Network has launched a local kitemark for businesses committed to challenging sexual harassment.
Calling on all Brighton and Hove businesses, Survivors’ Network is looking to turn the conversation around #MeToo into action from those in positions of power in the form of an #OverToYou kitemark. The kitemark is achieved by signing an ‘Employers Pledge’, detailing the following promises:
- Maintain a healthy and respectful environment free from discrimination based on gender to include all employees, customers, clients and others.
- Not tolerate any form of sexual harassment or sexual violence including images or sayings which may objectify or degrade a group of people within the workplace or at any company-sponsored events.
- Immediately and respectfully respond to every claim of sexual harassment or sexual violence by an employee or client regardless of the victim’s gender or previous claims of harassment or violence.
- Maintain and actively review a sexual harassment/sexual violence policy for employees, and provide a copy of this to Survivors’ Network.
- Regularly discuss protocol for reporting sexual harassment/sexual violence with employees.
Businesses will be expected to renew their signature of the pledge annually, providing evidence of any changes made to their policies. A full list of businesses certified with the kitemark will be displayed on the Survivors’ Network website. While the kitemark does not guarantee no sexual harassment will take place, it ensures better safeguards will be in place and, hopefully, that staff will be better prepared to believe and support survivors.
The #MeToo movement and the Times Up campaign have been widely covered in national and international press, drawing much needed attention to not only the high rates of sexual violence women experience but also the many ways that bystanders have failed those survivors. Survivors’ Network sees this as a prime opportunity for local businesses to step up to the plate and make a public statement regarding how they will respond to this issue, be it through an assessment of HR policies or through actively engaging staff in training around sexual violence and first disclosures.
Survivors’ Network Director Fabia Bates states, “With approximately 3,000 assaults a year sexual violence is one of the most pervasive crimes in Sussex. We work with survivors to support them through the profound consequences of harassment and violence, but we want to do more to challenge the issue at its root. We are calling on the local community to join us in making Brighton and Hove the first City with fully transparent sexual harassment policies in all lines of work.”
The organisation has launched their kitemark via their website, where supporters Caroline Lucas (Co-Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales) and Sarah Springford (Director of the Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce) have signed a letter in support of the project, stating:
“This simple list of promises should already be a priority for businesses in Brighton & Hove, so we are calling on the city to show that we will lead the way in tackling sexual harassment head on.”
For more information, including how your organisation can sign up to the receive the Over To You kitemark, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.survivorsnetwork.org.uk .