Hertfordshire bus company launches new ‘Brave Voices’ campaign to tackle harassment through community action
Uno, the bus company operated by the University of Hertfordshire, has teamed up with students, staff and Herts police to launch a new creative campaign aimed at encouraging communities to work together to tackle harassment and unwanted behaviours on public transport.
The ‘Brave Voices’ campaign, as it has been titled, focuses on the small interventions that bystanders can make to help support and protect anyone who feels vulnerable while travelling on public transport against harassment.
Buses across Hertfordshire and the surrounding area will feature the Brave Voices visuals, which represent members of the public thanking fellow passengers for recognising and supporting them when faced with difficult situations.
James Thorpe, Managing Director for Uno, said: “We’re really proud to be a lead member of this campaign. Thankfully sexual assault or harassment are still a rare occurrence on our network across Hertfordshire, however we want to do all we can to make sure it remains that way and people always feel empowered to act.”
Posters with tips on how to diffuse negative situations will be displayed on all Uno buses, and also feature a QR code to take people to a wealth of practical, instantly available information about what to do if they witness sexual harassment, or if they are a victim of it themselves.
Anne-Marie Leadbetter, a recent graphic design graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, led the Brave Voices creative design and overall concept. In the final year of her degree she developed a similar campaign, which aimed to publicise and educate people regarding the problem of harassment on the London Underground. After reaching out to Uno and showing them her ideas, they were keen to get involved in a local version of the campaign. Its development has been supported by staff at the University’s School of Creative Arts.
Although the project was developed from a student perspective, the campaign is aimed at all members of the community that use Uno buses.
Hertfordshire Police has also pledged their support. Inspector Amy Sheldon, from the Welwyn Hatfield Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “Making sure everyone feels safe while travelling on public transport is a priority for the constabulary and we are proud to support this campaign. Little actions, such as asking where the bus stops next, can make a big difference in helping to de-escalate a worrying situation. This campaign will help empower the public to make those simple interventions.”
The University of Hertfordshire has also committed to promoting the campaign amongst their student and staff community, with plans to display the message across campuses.
Geraldine Ward, Dean of Students at the University, said: “We do a lot of work to make sure that our campus remains a safe and supportive place for everyone in our community, and it’s really important that this extends into our local area and the transport networks that our students use. We are very pleased to be working with our colleagues at Uno and Herts Police to launch this campaign, and I’m particularly proud that it was envisaged and designed by one of our talented Creative Arts graduates.”
The Brave Voices campaign will be live from mid-October as students settle into the new academic year. A launch will take place on the University’s College Lane campus on Friday, 13 October to introduce students to the campaign, with speakers from Uno, Herts Police and the University.
More information is available on the campaign's page on the Uno website.
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