Why Super Saturday And Covid Masks Are A Troubling Blend For Anti-Violence Charities

Arj Singh
·2-min read

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Saturday marks the partial easing of most coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England – the end of what Boris Johnson has called a three-month “hibernation”.

Top of the list for some is the first chance to exercise the “ancient, inalienable right of free-born people” (his words) to go to the pub.

But the Police Federation has warned that Johnson’s decision to ease restrictions means a “head of steam” has been gathering towards July 4 and officers are worried about “alcohol consumption leading to drunken and irresponsible behaviour”.

Now HuffPost UK has heard warnings of a “spike in nightlife sexual violence” against women.

And while charities are clear that alcohol, the lockdown, and the lifting of it cannot be used as excuses for violence, harassment or domestic abuse, there are concerns that abusive behaviour could be “exacerbated” or “escalated”.

Bryony Benyon, managing director of the Good Night Out campaign for safer nightlife, has been helping venue managers include the safety of women and LGBTQ+ people in their post-lockdown strategy.

With many staff still furloughed and reopening bars and pubs now having to do much more with much less, we can foresee a spike in nightlife sexual violence

Sexual harassment or violence “doesn’t happen because people get ‘carried away’, but because they make harmful personal choices,” she said.

Benyon told HuffPost UK: “With many staff still furloughed and reopening bars and pubs now having to do much more with much less, we can foresee a spike in nightlife sexual violence that will be particularly acute in premises that have still yet to enact clear policies or consistent consequences.”

Benyon called for a “zero tolerance” approach towards unwanted sexual behaviour to customers and staff members as bars reopen from pubs and bars.

And she warned that as people...

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