Starting this weekend, Good Night Out Vancouver will launch a new pilot project aimed at finding out when and where street harassment in happening in the city.
“Good Night Out is the grateful recipient of the UBC Centre for Community Engaged Learning’s 2018 Innovative Grant and is using this fund to implement a 2 month text-reporting system for harassment in Vancouver,” the group said Friday in a statement.
The project is a data-collection initiative and not a way to get help in case of an emergency.
People are asked to text “creep off” to 778-800-3822 when they witness or experience harassment of any nature. The text will trigger a set of questions asking for more details.
Making a submission is fast and anonymous.
The Good Night Out Vancouver street team, which returned to the Granville strip earlier this month, will also use the system to report any harassment witnessed while on duty, and encourage people they meet to also report any incidents.
Launched in 2015 by Stacey Forrester and Ashtyn Bevan, Good Night Out Vancouver was adapted from a similar campaign in the London. The group’s mandate is to increase patron safety in bars, clubs and other nightlife venues in the city, with a focus on the safety of women and the LGBTQ2+ community.
The text service will be open for eight weeks starting tonight (June 14). At the end of the project in August, Good Night Out Vancouver will analyze the data gathered and determine when, where and what kind of harassment is taking place in the city.
“It is hoped that this service will create a useful data set about the prevalence and nature of harassment in Vancouver, to help the organization and others doing similar work help create safer spaces in Vancouver,” the group states. “Users are reminded when they submit details that it is not intended to be used in the case of an emergency.”
The technology behind the service is provided by WelTel, a local company that is also currently testing a similar service with Vancouver Coastal Health to report contaminated drugs and overdoses in the city.