Co-operation Ireland Young Advocates sexual harassment awareness campaign launched by Minister for Justice
A new campaign to raise awareness of sexual harassment designed by a cross community group of young people was officially launched on Friday night (March 11) by Justice Minister Naomi Long at Crumlin Road Gaol.
The 16- to 24-year-olds from Twinbrook, Shankill Road, Turf Lodge, and East Belfast have designed the ‘Share2BAware’ project as part of the Young Advocates programme, led by peacebuilding charity Co-operation Ireland in partnership with Belfast City Council and funded by the European Union’s Peace IV programme managed by the SEUPB.
The campaign has been developed with the sexual abuse charity NEXUS NI and includes an animation followed by a social media campaign which will become the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.
Peer Mentor Arón Hughes who was part of the design team said: “In the aftermath of the Sarah Everard murder and the worrying statistics that show sexual offenses to be on the rise, we in Young Advocates wanted to play our part in raising awareness of the issue and educating young people about what is sexual harassment and the impact it can have on victims.”
Co-designer Lauren McAreavey said: “As a cross-community youth-led project for young adults from across Belfast, we felt we could play our part in tackling the issue and show that it is a society wide issue in need to radical change. The young people on the project began by identifying the issue a matter of months ago and have worked tirelessly to bring their campaign to young people across the region.”
Speaking at the launch, Justice Minister Naomi Long said: “I was delighted to be asked to the launch of the Share2BAware campaign animation and am pleased to support this important educational tool which will raise awareness of the types of sexual harassment that exist, the impact it can have on a victim and how victims can get support.
“I would encourage victims of sexual harassment and any other type of sexual offence to report it and I would encourage everyone to be the active bystander – when you see instances of harassment taking place to call it out. By standing up and not tolerating sexual harassment together we will begin to change cultural and societal attitudes and prevent it from happening.”
Councillor John Kyle, Chair of Belfast City Council’s Shared City Partnership, said: “Young Advocates is one of our successful Belfast PEACE IV projects which saw young people from different backgrounds and cultures coming together to be advocates for peaceful change and leaders of the future.
“I want to congratulate all the young participants who took part in the programme and for their working so positively and effectively to unveil this new campaign now. They should be very proud of themselves.”