Gloucestershire Police have launched an app aimed at preventing future cases of alcohol use, inappropriate contact and verbal abuse of women and girls.
The app – called Flare – allows people to instantly share their experiences anonymously with app data then shared with the police.
Students from Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester, told ITV News that the app is needed to address the growing problem of harassment.
Margo Gilli, a student whose friend drank some alcohol on a night out, said: “People are touching you in the club, when you are trying to order at the bar, but you shouldn’t worry when you go on a night out. for your safety.
“You should focus on having fun, but it’s become routine now to text everyone when they’re home safe and keep their eyes peeled. It can take away from the experience.”
It comes after an increase in the number of reports of women being beaten by injection in nightclubs across the UK.
Gloucestershire Police launched an information appeal earlier this month after reports two women were injected into Cheltenham.
A University of Exeter student also described the terrifying moment when she saw her friend after being stung by a needle on a night out in October 2021.
Gloucestershire Police hope to use the data collected by the app to crack down on harassment by increasing patrols at a hotspot, using mobile video surveillance, or targeting a bar or club.
Rhiannon Kirk, Assistant Chief of Police for Gloucestershire Police, said: “This Flare app is incredibly important to us because it’s such a practical thing.
“We really need to understand the lived experience of women and girls in Gloucestershire and we need to understand what’s going on because so much is not being reported.
“So whether it’s upskirting or people thinking their drinks may have been drugged, cat-calling, a lot of things that are actually below the criminal threshold, we need to understand where people feel insecure and what behaviors they are. happening “.
Angharad Webb, another student who received inappropriate comments and unwanted attention, believes sharing data with the police is a key benefit of the app.
He said: “At least there will be data there and the police can act on this data, so if something is going on in a bar they can send people around and do training and education. I think it will be really useful.”
Flare was created by Safer Gloucestershire and was funded by the Science, Technology, Analysis and Research (STAR) offering to the Home Office.
Maggie Stewart, of the Gloucestershire Rape and Sexual Abuse Center, recognizes the growing need to address sexual violence and harassment.
He said: “There seems to be a wave of information coming out that many people are experiencing various forms of sexual assault and abuse from across the spectrum.
“I think now is the time for people to step forward so we can nip this in the bud.”