Sports field with goal posts and houses in the distance
Safer Stronger

Students lead campaign to help keep women and girls safe

Local students are leading a hard-hitting poster campaign to challenge street harassment and help keep women and girls safe on and around Greater Manchester’s public transport network.

A poster designed by a student at Oldham College features on five tram stops in the town, including Freehold, Westwood, Oldham King Street, Oldham Central and Oldham Mumps. The poster challenges inappropriate behaviour, which can include cat calling, staring and looks, or getting too close, and how these behaviours make women and girls feel unsafe when out and about. The campaign also encourages people to report sexual harassment and anti-social behaviour via GMP’s Livechat function.

The campaign is part of Greater Manchester’s Safer Streets initiative, a half a million-pound investment in a series of schemes aimed at helping women and girls feel safer when out and about in Greater Manchester.

A QR code on the poster takes people to to find out more about the project. The public can also share their experiences of using public spaces in Greater Manchester and have their say on how to improve safety in those areas.  

23 students submitted designs which were judged by a panel made up of representatives from Oldham College, TfGM and Oldham Safeguarding Children Partnership.

Student Sinmi Alli-Balogun’s concept was the winning design and features a pointing hand with the words ‘No Is No’. His design will feature on the tram network as part of the campaign from 21 February to the end of March.

Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, Bev Hughes, said: “It’s important not only that women and girls are safe when on and around our public transport system, but that they feel safe and confident too.

“This campaign, led by Oldham College students, highlights behaviours that make women and girls feel uncomfortable, frightened and threatened and calls on men and boys to change their behaviour and call it out when they see it from others.

“I want to thank the students for leading on this campaign, which complements the wider work we’re doing to challenge the attitudes and behaviours amongst men and boys that enable gender-based violence.”

Dr Shaid Mushtaq, Councillor for the Alexandra Ward, Oldham, added: “As a Governor for Oldham College, I was delighted that our Graphic Design students were able to be so heavily involved in this project. I believe this poster will have a positive impact on the safety of women and girls using Oldham’s tram stops, providing guidance to those experiencing inappropriate behaviours and harassment.

“Collaboration is ongoing between the Safer Streets partners, enabling us to build upon the work that has already taken place to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour on the public transport network.”

Kate Green, TfGM’s TravelSafe Partnership Manager, said: “Everyone should be able to safely use and enjoy public transport, but there are some who act in an intimidating and threatening manner towards others, particularly women and girls.

“TravelSafe officers take an enforcement, engagement and education-led approach to reduce crime and antisocial-behaviour, while also making sure that people feel confident while using the public transport network.

“The Safer Streets programme will enable us to strengthen this work and focus on the safety of women and girls.”

The Safer Streets programme, which is being delivered in partnership by the GMCA, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Oldham Council, will see a number of interventions launched and tested on the tram network and at key stops to respond to the issues raised by women and girls. If proved successful, the schemes could be rolled at more widely, including beyond transport.

This work is part of the city-region’s long-term strategy to end gender-based violence and ensure Greater Manchester can be one of the best places in the world to grow up, get on and grow old.

Article Published: 04/03/2022 16:33 PM