The Association of Independent Festival (AIF) has today relaunched its Safer Spaces campaign to help tackle sexual violence at music festivals.
Joining the campaign are more than 100 festivals, including Boardmasters, Reading & Leeds, El Dorado and Detonate, which have all signed up to the association’s Charter of Best Practice and have pledged to work on combating this abhorrent problem.
According to the charter, a YouGov poll from 2018 found that one in five festival-goers has experienced sexual assault or harrassment at a UK festival.
The charter – which was created in collaboration with Rape Crisis England and Wales, Good Night Out, Safe Gigs for Women, Girls Against and UN Women – states that ‘all allegations of sexual assault, violence and harassment will be taken seriously, acted on promptly and investigated.’
The three main objectives of the campaign are to:
• To raise greater awareness about sexual violence at festivals, which can be experienced by anyone from audiences to artists to staff and volunteers.
• To commit to taking a survivor-led approach to tackling sexual violence, underpinned by policies, procedures and training.
• To spread key messages about consent and bystander intervention.
Rape Crisis England and Wales’ communications officer Kelly Bennaton said that “festival-goers deserve to know that if they report sexual assault they will be listened to and believed, and that those working on site are equipped to handle all reports with knowledge and empathy.
“They also deserve to know that festivals are taking a proactive approach in preventing sexual assault, and that abusive behaviour will not be tolerated.”
Phoebe Rodwell, the AIF’s membership and operations coordinator, said understanding about how to tackle sexual violence was evolving all the time. “That’s why it’s important that we renew the Safer Spaces campaign in 2022 with up-to-date messaging, resources and practices, to prevent sexual violence and promote a survivor-led approach, helping festival organisers to fulfil their duty of care at events.”
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