Good Night Out also includes a street team on the Granville strip, offering water, harm reduction supplies and more. (GNO/Instagram)

‘Creep off’ reporting system aims to track street harassment in Metro Vancouver

Text-based hotline launches to collect public reports on where and when harassment occurs

A new text-based hotline in Metro Vancouver is aiming to collect data on what organizers say is one of the most difficult kinds of misconduct to track: street harassment.

Created by Good Night Out, a Vancouver-based anti-harassment group, “Creep off” is a data-collection project that launched this week, tracking incidents reported around Metro Vancouver until the end of August. The data will then be used in a larger report to municipalities.

“There isn’t a whole lot of data on street harassment right now because in most cases, it’s not really criminal,” said Stacey Forrester, a Good Night Out regional organizer.

“So it’s one of those things that we feel we hear happens all the time, but there isn’t really a strong data set to find out just how much [that] is.”

The project, which is being funded through an innovation grant from UBC, stems from a House of Commons Standing Committee report on the Status of Women released last spring that found there are no formal places for people to report harassment that isn’t criminal.

“It’s frustrating for me as a woman to have been talking about this very issue since I was 14 years old and the realization that people don’t take things seriously until we have quantifiable numbers behind them,” Forrester said.

“I am surprised that, given the social shift in recent years around street harassment, that such a tool hasn’t been created yet.”

Collecting the data is simple. Whenever someone witnesses or experiences harassment, text the words “creep off” to 778-800-3822 on your smartphone.

That will prompt a series of questions in return, asking where the harassment took place and what kind of harassment occurred.

Good Night Out will be watching for trends, Forrester said, but exactly how the data will be compiled is still in the works.

“If we notice really strong trends, like at music festivals or like at night, that may be another way to map it,” she said, “but we’re planning to share the data with the public for sure.”

If enough people turn report harassment through the hotline, she added, the group may lobby city or provincial officials to promote such a tool and expand it.

Forrester said she doubts she’ll be surprised by the number of incidents that get reported, but anticipates it will shock some.

“It may be the kind of push we need to approach venues and festivals who maybe have been telling us for a little white that this isn’t an issue,” she said. “It will be nice to have data to back it up.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Courtenay petition to decriminalize all drugs continues to collect signatures

A Courtenay couple is collecting signatures for their petition to decriminalize drugs in Canada

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

Comox residents question redevelopment at emotionally-charged meeting

About 40 people filled the d’Esterre House in response to a community consultation meeting.

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Students give two thumbs up to no more B.C. student loan interest

Eliminating the loan interest charges could save the average graduate $2,300 over 10 years

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

City of Port Alberni cancels tourist train operations for 2019

Steam train to McLean Mill is out of commission for repairs; city wants to re-examine rail costs

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside B.C. elementary school

The officer was interceding in an alleged assault when he and the woman were stabbed

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

Courtenay receives second application for cannabis shop

Just one resident spoke at a Tuesday public hearing in Courtenay council… Continue reading

Most Read