We’re pleased to be working alongside Bath Rugby and British Transport Police (BTP) to ensure the matchday experience is a safe space for supporters and the wider community, including on their journey into the city. In a project to tackle violence against women and girls in the South West, we’ve joined forces to promote the BTP ‘Speak Up, Interrupt’ campaign and put a stop to harassment.
Launching the initiative last summer, BTP outlined some of the ways rugby fans can be active bystanders, and safely challenge unacceptable behaviour on a matchday and when travelling into Bath.
Speak up. If you see anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, speak to a steward, member staff or police officer. Contact British Transport Police via the Railway Guardian app or by texting 61016. In an emergency, call 999.
Interrupt. You don’t need to confront anyone or wait for a situation to escalate. As soon as you see something that makes you uncomfortable, you can help by doing something small and subtle to defuse the situation. This could be asking an unrelated question such as:
- “What’s the score?”
- “Who’s playing at full-back today?”
- “Is Bradford-on-Avon the next stop?”
- “How long until we reach Frome?”
The campaign highlights that in many ways a person’s presence is their greatest superpower. In some cases, if it is safe to do so, standing between a person causing harm and a victim might be enough to stop what is happening.
- Offering the victim your seat or your place in the queue
- Place something in the overhead racks
- Get up to look at the station map
- Take a walk down the carriage to stretch your legs
“Violence against women and girls in any form is never acceptable. Every public space should be a safe place where women and girls can pursue their lives free of fear and harassment.
“We hope that the joint campaign with British Transport Police and Bath Rugby is a positive step towards empowering bystanders to take action and call out sexual harassment for the crime that it is.”Chief Inspector Ronnie Lungu, Bath & North East Somerset Area Commander for Avon and Somerset Police
“This work with Bath Rugby and Avon and Somerset Police is a really important partnership in ensuring women and girls feel safe and secure when travelling on the rail network.
“It also sends a clear message that we are working proactively to target and prosecute those minority of people who take part in this unacceptable behaviour and that we do not just wait until a victim comes forward to report an incident.”John Angell, Chief Inspector of British Transport Police (South West)
By committing to a zero tolerance policy and being an active by-stander, you can help make all supporters feel safe inside the stadium and around the city.
“This campaign by Avon & Somerset Police and British Transport Police is such an important one and we’re glad we can use our profile and platform to promote their messages at our matchdays.
“We always want to make sure our supporters feel safe inside our stadium and out in our city so getting on board with the campaign was a no-brainer for us.”Zoe Tyler, Head of Operations at Bath Rugby
Posters and video messaging will be present around Bath Rugby’s ground, The Rec, to assist in this campaign and encourage people to download the BTP Railway Guardian App.
The free Railway Guardian app helps users to report crime to British Transport Police and provides information on what to do if you see sexual harassment on trains or at stations.
Within the BTP Railway Guardian app users are also able to access StreetSafe which is an online tool that can be used to share information about areas where you feel or have felt unsafe, even if a crime hasn’t happened. The information is then shared with police, as well as local authorities and other partners, so they can work together to make the streets safer for everyone.