Running enthusiasts are urged to participate in complimentary training sessions aimed at equipping them to respond effectively to abusive or offensive behaviour towards women, part of the ongoing JogOn initiative.

The Active Bystander training, a key component of the JogOn campaign introduced by the Safer Bradford partnership, empowers individuals to transition from passive observers to active interveners. The comprehensive training guides participants through the crucial stages required for active involvement:

  • Notice and be aware of the event.
  • Recognize the event or behaviour as a problem.
  • Feel responsible and motivated to act.
  • Acquire the necessary skills to intervene safely and effectively.

This training not only enables individuals to intervene during incidents but also encourages them to challenge harmful attitudes, language, or behaviour that perpetuates violence, aligning with the national violence against women and girls strategy.

The JogOn initiative, spearheaded by the Safer Bradford partnership, comprising the Police, Bradford Council, and the NHS, encompasses a series of police enforcement sessions and awareness-raising efforts to address the escalating harassment faced by female runners. The campaign aims to send a strong message to perpetrators that such behaviour will not be tolerated, and decisive action will be taken. Runners of all genders are urged to report instances of harassment or abuse, whether they are victims or witnesses.

A comprehensive Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) covering the entire Bradford District prohibits “shouting or swearing at, abusing, threatening, or otherwise intimidating (including by the use of sexual language or making sexual suggestions) to another person” from a vehicle. This provision can be applied to anyone engaging in such behaviour towards female runners. Breaches of the PSPO can be reported via email at safer.communities@bradford.gov.uk.

Cllr Abdul Jabar, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods and Community Safety, said: “Women should be able to go running or jogging without fear or intimidation. We want them to feel empowered to report any incidents and this training provides proactive way for any witness to step in and support someone.”

Inspector Nick Haigh of Bradford District Police said: Inspector Nick Haigh of Bradford District Police said: “We are pleased to be able to work with the local runners within the community to provide this training as part of the education of the new JogOn initiative.

“It’s important that people have the opportunity to increase their awareness and skills to be able to intervene if safe and appropriate to do so and understand what it means to be an active bystander.

“This initiative is centred around women feeling safe to go out running or jogging in Bradford and we need support from the communities to achieve this.”

The Active Bystander training sessions, each lasting approximately two hours and limited to 25 participants, are a crucial step in creating a safer environment for runners. The next session is scheduled for Friday, 22nd March, from 6-8 pm at Shipley Library. Interested individuals can secure their spot by booking tickets on Eventbrite [https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/active-bystander-session-to-support-the-running-community-tickets-837345742657?aff=oddtdtcreator
].

Additional events are in the pipeline and will be announced in due course.