Arc news: June 2016
Joining forces with West Midlands Police to help young people tackle inappropriate sexual behaviour on the transport system
As part of 'Project Empower', West Midlands Police and the Safer Travel Partnership (with British Transport Police and Centro – West Midlands Transport Executive) continue to work with Arc throughout 2016 to bring the schools touring piece Touching Moments to young people in Birmingham.
Touching Moments is a live, interactive theatre programme devised and delivered by Arc’s Artistic Director, Clifford Oliver, with a team of West Midlands-based actors. Designed for secondary school students in Years 7-9, the programme uses a brand of participative Forum Theatre to raise awareness of the consequences of sexual offences and harassment on West Midlands buses, trams and trains. It tells the story of three young people who are arranging a day out, but plans get hampered and emotions run high when one of them refuses to go by public transport. At a point of heightened conflict, the facilitator opens up the action to the audience, who will then become advisers to the characters.
Project Empower was born from British Transport Police’s sister project, 'Project Guardian' based in London. In 2013, Transport for London’s Safety and Security Survey statistics* showed that:
• One in 10 passengers have experienced unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport;
• Over one in four teenagers have experienced an unwanted sexual encounter;
• 95% of victims do not report their experience to Police.
Arc’s Touching Moments programme was originally commissioned by BTP in 2014 to increase confidence in reporting sexual offences on public transport, target offenders and inform about the consequences, and raise awareness of ‘consent’ and what it means for young people. The educational programme went on to tour schools across the London Boroughs, helping Project Guardian to challenge unwelcome sexual behaviour in the City. The programme works in schools to address key aspects of Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural development and support schools in their British Values strategy, as defined by the Government and required by Ofsted.
West Midlands Schools can find out if they are eligible for a day of FREE PERFORMANCES by contacting Theresa Snooks at Arc Theatre on 020 8595 8509.
About Project Guardian and Project Empower
Project Guardian is a long-term project involving British Transport Police, Transport for London (TfL), Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police, which aims to reduce sexual assault and unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport in London. Find out more: http://www.btp.police.uk/advice_and_info/how_we_tackle_crime/sexual_offences.aspx
Project Guardian found that as little as 5% of victims of unwanted sexual behaviour on the public transport network of London actually reported it to the authorities – the police or transport operators. This figure was representative not just nationally but similar to figures shared with international transit authorities.
The West Midlands has a large transport network, carrying over 1 million passengers a day on bus alone and with a slight rise in sexual offences over the previous year it was decided that West Midlands Police Public protection working alongside the Safer Travel Partnership (made up of West Midlands Police, British Transport Police and Centro – West Midlands Transport Executive) would tackle the issue of underreporting of this crime type and ensuring the best quality of investigation by instigating Project Empower. See more here: http://www.safertravel.info/ and https://projectempower.co.uk/