Business owners urged to join ‘Know The Line’ campaign to weed out sexual harassment in workplaces

As hospitality sector across Sheffield reemerges out of lockdown beginning today (May 17), there's no better time for business owners to join a rallying call to have zero tolerance towards sexual harassment in the workplaces.

By Rahmah Ghazali
Monday, 17th May 2021, 1:55 pm

'Know The Line – We Don’t Tolerate Sexual Harassment' campaign, which has been launched to coincide with the fully reopening of hospitality sector in the city, aims to provide a safer environment for both the staff and the public alike.

Spearheaded by Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield in collaboration with the Star, Know The Line and other partners, the campaign is now backed by prominent organisations who have signed a pledge to help Sheffield 'build back better'.

A former victim of sexual harassment herself, Louisa Harrison-Walker, Executive Director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce said: "This is an incredibly important initiative for our City. Zero tolerance of sexual harassment is something we should all get behind.

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Know The Line campaign takes into effect on Monday (May 17) to coincide with the fully reopening of hospitality sector.

"As someone who has been subject to sexual harassment and assault my hope is that if we all take collective responsibility in calling out this behaviour my daughter will not have to suffer the same levels of abuse too many of us have endured for too long.

"A safer city is good for everyone, and let’s not forget Sheffield currently has the top level purple flag safety status, which says a lot about the folk here."

Diane Jarvis, Manager of Sheffield Business Improvement District also urged those working in the hospitality sector to sign up to this campaign and to take a zero-tolerance approach to promote a safe and positive workplace.

“Sexual harassment can take many different forms. Whether someone is staring inappropriately, making sexually suggestive comments, inappropriate jokes or subjecting someone to unwelcome physical contact – all of this is sexual harassment which must be addressed.

Louisa Harrison-Walker, Executive Director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce

"No one should feel they have to tolerate unwanted comments or attention in the workplace or when out on our city streets. If it looks inappropriate and feels inappropriate, it is inappropriate,” she said.

Nick Simmonite, chair of non-profit organisation UNIGHT Sheffield that represents the night time community said they have been working in partnerships with the police and the city council to promote the best practices within the city.

"We need to build back better. We need to change the perception that it is unsafe to go out. Sheffield, compared to other city centres, is really, really safe for a night out but that's been on hold for a year now.

"We have got a lot of work to do to treat our guests and potential guests and that Sheffield is a go to destination," he said.

Nick Simmonite, chair of non-profit organisation UNIGHT Sheffield

He said with the 'Know The Line' campaign, this will help push the message that this is what the community is doing to ensure the safety of both members of the public and the staff.

"With the existing 'Ask for Angela' scheme - we put the emphasis on the victims if they don't feel comfortable they can have a chat with us.

"And 'The Know The Line' campaign, it flips back and pushes back on the transgressor,” he said.

To sign the pledge and be part of the campaign, please go here.