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The Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, has today launched a campaign calling for an end to sexual abuse and harassment of women and girls exercising in public spaces.

The video-led campaign, called ‘I’m Tired of This’, is being shared across the region to highlight the experiences of women who exercise in public, either on their own or within groups, and challenge the range of abusive behaviours they report.

Alongside the campaign, the PCC has shared the results of a West Midlands survey by YouGov. It found that 13% of female and 4% of male respondents said that they had personally experienced sexual abuse or violence, specifically whilst exercising in public spaces.

Younger generations were more likely to report having personally experienced or witnessed sexual abuse or violence, whilst exercising in public spaces (24% of 18-24 year olds and 29% of 25-34 year olds).

Of those who reported having seen or experienced sexual abuse or violence in these settings, 46% say it took place in public parks across the region. Other public spaces reported, included pavements (36%), on a road (26%), canals/towpaths (11%), on rural walking routes (11%) and on cycle paths (7%).

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, Simon Foster, said: “Violence against women and girls is completely unacceptable and it will not be tolerated. Yet we know abuse and harassment is a disgraceful reality for so many.

“Women and girls should not have to avoid certain areas or change their own behaviour, through fear of being abused or harassed. It’s not acceptable and it will not be tolerated.

“That’s why I am launching this campaign, as I believe it will contribute to deterring potential abusers and will enable more people to be held to account and brought to justice.

“These crimes have a damaging and serious impact on victims and I want each and every single woman and girl to know I am on their side. My message to any actual or potential abuser is clear. Cut it out, pack it in and stop it. It is everyone’s responsibility to end any and all sexual abuse and harassment of women and girls exercising in public spaces.”

The research saw 1,502 adults surveyed online between 21st April and 26th April.

The poll also explored who respondents thought was ‘the most’ responsible for ending violence against women and girls.

37% believed responsibility primarily lies with the Police, 19% with the UK Government, and 18% with individuals.

The younger demographics were more likely to put the onus on the Government, whereas older demographics placed greater emphasis on the Police.

Alongside the work on challenging and changing behaviours and having a proactive policing response to violence against women and girls, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner offers a wide range of support services to victims.

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