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UN Women UK Calls for 'Safe Spaces Now' with Powerful Film



Missing Link Films' Florence Winter Hill directs uplifting spot with post production from Absolute Post

UN Women UK Calls for 'Safe Spaces Now' with Powerful Film

UN Women UK has this week revealed shocking data that depicts the disturbing reality of ongoing sexual harassment and violence that women and girls are facing in public spaces throughout the UK. 

• Over 71% of women of all ages reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment in public spaces 

• Only 3% of 18-24-year-olds did not recall experiencing sexual harassment 

• Over 90% of respondents didn’t report incidents to an official organisation 

The YouGov survey commissioned by UN Women UK of over 1,000 women and girls across the UK, was made possible by the National Lottery Emerging Futures Fund. It is part of the UN Women UK’s Safe Spaces Now project, which aims to combat the reality that our public spaces are not safe for womxn, girls and marginalised groups across the world.

As part of the project, a new film has been launched, directed by Florence Winter Hill through Missing Link Films with post production via Absolute Post. 

The project is supported by the findings from the 2021 study, which revealed that 71% of respondents have experienced sexual harassment in public spaces, with just 3% of those in the 18-24 bracket, and 7% of all ages saying they did not recall experiencing sexual harassment. These frightening figures show the extent of the problem at home, here in the UK, which is why UN Women UK is demanding change. 

Shockingly, the study also revealed only 4% of all respondents would report these incidents to an official organisation. The main reason cited for this was that women didn’t think the incidents were serious enough to report. These cases included severe experiences such as being followed, groped, and coerced into sexual activity. Almost half of respondents shared a lack of trust in the system, saying that they didn’t believe reporting would help change anything (45%) and that it was too much hassle (30%), with others citing concerns they wouldn’t be believed and expressing shame or fear attached to the incident. Of those asked, 25% of women said they would be more likely to report if the stigma or taboo about victimhood could be reduced. 

UN Women UK is asking individuals passionate about changing this reality to sign its open letter to leaders, and be part of designing the solutions by visiting

UN Women UK executive director Claire Barnett says: “We have a unique opportunity as we ‘build back better’ from the pandemic to make our public spaces safer - the way they are constructed, and the behaviour we tolerate within them. There is no time to waste - this data shows that every woman and girl has a story. We are not willing to wait any longer for this to change, and we need leaders to act on it now.”

UN Women UK has assembled a cohort of public services, corporate organisations and government bodies to listen to these data and stories from the public, and commit to taking action. This starts with improving reporting systems, education around attitudes and behaviour, and the redesign of spaces and norms to prevent this violence from happening.


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Genres: Dialogue

Categories: Safety, Corporate, Social and PSAs

Absolute, Thu, 11 Mar 2021 14:04:04 GMT