YOUNG people’s charity Streetwise has launched an empowering campaign ‘#itsnotokay’ to raise awareness and help prevent sexual violence from happening to young people in the North East.

#itsnotokay came to light after the charity revealed alarming stats earlier this year that almost 80 percent of young people in the North East felt unsafe*. Streetwise Promoted the campaign at Intu Eldon Square’s student night on Tuesday 02 October 2018.

Mandy Coppin, CEO at Streetwise Young People’s Project, said: “Our #itsnotokay campaign is about raising awareness to help stop our young people from being sexually grabbed and groped, and to help raise funds to continue providing essential support services for those young people who need help following a sexual assault.

“Our message to victims and witnesses, who are sometimes as young as 12 years old, is to ‘see it, report it, and stop it’. If you see someone or are a victim of sexual assault, it’s important to report it to someone who can help. This may be a teacher, a parent, a sibling, the police, or anyone who you feel safe speaking to. The more reports that are made will help to bring an end to unwanted sexual attention and sexual assault.”

Mandy recently appeared on the BBC’s Sunday Politics** show discussing the limited respect and understanding of consent there is out there. Mandy said: “We have a duty to inform our young people of how to behave, and there is not enough understanding out there on what enthusiastic consent is and how vital it is.”

Mandy continued: “It’s concerning that there is 50 percent more student accommodation in the centre of Newcastle compared to five years ago, which is a growing concern for us and for students coming to the city for the first time.

“We need to make it easier for young people to report, with more education and training available in schools, colleges, universities, bars and transport services. We need to help people become more aware of what’s happening and how these organisations can help.”

All of the funds raised from the campaign will go towards Streetwise’s EmpowerHER group which was created in 2018 to support young women who need additional support and/or have been subject to sexual harassment and assaults.

The Streetwise team are selling bespoke #itsnotokay and EmpowerHER t-shirts to help raise funds. Contact admin@streetwisenorth.org.uk to find out more.

** https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0bjcgsl/sunday-politics-north-east-and-cumbria-16092018#