Tackling sexual harassment & violence with bold design

By Liz,

December 2021

Our campaign projects are only as good as their response. The #SafeToSay campaign, on behalf of The Violence Prevention Unit, has been no exception. It’s been several weeks since the campaign was rolled out over Cardiff and Swansea. The stats are in! Here’s how it went.

The story so far

Back in the Summer we worked on a (mostly outdoor) campaign for the Violence Prevention Unit to help tackle nightlife based violence and sexual harrassment. We came up with a bold, bright and relatable concept for the artwork that would work bilingually. Case study here.

For the rollout and testing of the campaign we teamed up with our friends at Hello Starling. You may have seen the designs dotted around Cardiff and Swansea’s popular drinking spots.

Billboard for Safe To Say Campaign

As well as the overarching objective of reducing nightlife based violence and sexual harrasment, the #SafeToSay message was just as much about encouraging behavioural change.

This campaign set out to

  • Show relatable examples of potentially problematic behaviour or language

  • Empower bystanders & encourage them to step in safely

  • Signpost to more information (via www.safetosay.wales)

The survey

The post-campaign survey consisted of just under 300 participants from Cardiff, Vale of Glamorgan and Swansea.

The survey conducted by Hello Starling measured how people felt about violence and sexual harrassment in the night time economy. It then went on to measure people’s reaction to the campaign itself and the artwork and messaging. Then finally, the success of the campaign by asking about the participants’ behaviours after seeing the campaign.

Just to set the scene, just under 80% of the participants agreed that sexual violence and harrassment in the night time economy is a problem.

Behavioural implications of the campaign

One of the major challenges discussed in the planning stage of this project was the fact that we couldn’t rely on the audience to seek out additional information. The content of the ads needed to serve as a standalone source of information. These ads were the first touchpoint that would hopefully lead people to SafeToSay information, guides and further services.

Around a third of the participants said they looked for additional information after seeing the ads out and about.

27% actually followed up by visiting the website (safetosay.wales), which hosts the bystander toolkit, bystander training and other supporting services.

VPU Social website on mobile

How people felt about the ads

Around three quarters of the participants said that the artwork grabbed their attention. And when asked (again) directly about the artwork, 83% agreed that the messaging used in the campaign was clear.

Another challenge, outlined at the campaign planning stage, was the safety implications. That is, the bystander concern would be that ‘stepping in’ equals ‘confrontation’. That’s where the bystander toolkit came in.

71% thought the campaign helps people know how to intervene safely when they witness sexual harassment and violent or problematic behaviour

How we feel about this work

We loved working on this project, and thrilled that the engaging design we delivered had such a positive impact.

We're continuing to work with The Wales VPU and Hello Starling, to develop this campaign and empower bystanders to speak out safely across South Wales. Keep your eyes peeled for more from the #SafeToSay campaign!

If you need a strategic campaign for a similar project, talk to us!