TimeTo, the initiative that aims to tackle sexual harassment in advertising and marketing, has issued a message to people in the industry, following the death of Sarah Everard, who worked at digital agency Flipside Group.
Wayne Couzens, an officer in the Metropolitan Police, has been charged with the murder of Everard, who disappeared while walking home in south London on 3 March.
TimeTo, which was launched in 2018 by the Advertising Association, Nabs and Wacl, has issued the following statement:
"It has been a very tough few weeks for many in our industry as we all deal with the dreadful news about Sarah Everard, witness the response (and how it was subsequently handled) and hear the many stories at an individual, national and international level of women’s continued experiences of sexual harassment alongside other forms of multiple oppressions, in everyday life.
"Firstly, we want to recognise that Sarah was part of our industry community and, while we wait to understand the circumstances around her disappearance, we, as a group and we believe, as an industry, share a deep collective sense of shock, dismay and grief at this tragedy.
"All women should feel safe, whether at work, at home or in public and shouldn’t have to experience sexual harassment or any form of harassment. TimeTo was established to address the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace and to make our industry a safe place for everyone to work without fear of sexual harassment. Over 250 companies in our industry are endorsers of TimeTo, aligned with the TimeTo code of conduct and we believe that now is a time more than ever to ensure that this code is recognised and adhered to.
"We say to any woman in our industry, indeed to anyone, if you fear for your safety, feel under threat, or just want someone to talk to TimeTo is here for you, by your side, and the Nabs Advice Line is ready to provide confidential advice and support – 0800 707 6607.
"We know too from the response we have seen within our industry that people want to take action. If you want to play an active role in making people feel safe, there are a number of things that you can do.
"Firstly, we think it is upon us all to be an ally to every colleague, especially if they have concerns about their safety. We appreciate from the responses we have seen that men, in particular, want to understand how they can best support their women colleagues and so, beyond the training, we have gathered a series of useful links and articles which we believe may be helpful here.
"Secondly, check your company is an endorser of TimeTo and that it is fulfilling its promise to embed the code of conduct in your company culture. If your company hasn’t signed up yet (and you can check if they have here), now’s the time. It is essential every business in our industry takes action to defeat sexual harassment.
"Finally, the TimeTo training, which was launched earlier this year, is available to everyone in our industry. We hope that everyone will take it up and we do expect to see that from those companies that have signed up to be endorsers of TimeTo. Our trainers are ready and waiting.
"We can all do something about this. We must. Everyone has the right to feel safe at work, in public and in their home. Our industry can show through positive support of TimeTo what we need to see in wider society."