Local Community News


Bestival, as seen here in 2014, has said goodbye to the Isle of Wight

domesticforum2Members of the Isle of Wight Domestic Abuse Forum will be returning to Bestival this year to raise awareness of domestic and sexual violence.

Working under the banner ‘Reclaim the Night’, the team will be making bracelets with festival-goers using plectrums printed with consent messages, with the team’s bell tent being used to provide a safe space to talk about concerns with specialist staff.

Isle of Wight Council lead officer for domestic abuse and sexual violence, Fleur Gardiner, said:

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“This will be our fourth Bestival and the team have been brilliant to work with and have a real sense of responsibility for the people who attend their festival.

“Our approach is low key – we provide a space to relax and weave beautiful jewellery using beads, buttons and plectrums printed with rape crisis and domestic violence helpline numbers.

“If anyone needs to talk about personal experiences or wants advice we are able to support them. We are closely linked to our police colleagues on site so if someone does want to report to police then we can support with that. Conversely, if they do not want the police involved they can still come to us for advice and support. It is important people know that they can choose not to report to police and can still access support.”

The Bestival project is closely linked to the  forum’s  ‘Consent’ rape awareness campaign (www.iwight.com/consent) and the ‘Reclaim the Night’ stall will be staffed by trained volunteers including an independent sexual violence adviser, domestic abuse experts, and sexual health nurses who can advise on the issues.

Councillor Phil Jordan, Executive member for public protection, said:

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“Attendance at Bestival provides us with the opportunity to deliver these important messages to thousands of young people and is a key part of the preventative work that the Domestic Abuse Forum does; I am delighted that we have been invited back to continue to raise awareness at this year’s event.”

Anyone is welcome to visit the team, which will be located at the Green Campsite Hub opposite the Wishing Tree at the event from Thursday 10th September to Sunday 13th September. The group’s stand will be decorated with a large balloon ‘flower tower’ sculpture to help identify it.

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