NZ police remind revellers of impacts of alcohol on decision-making and consent

As the country makes the transition into the COVID-19 Protection Framework, punters will be heading out in droves.

But, remember when you’re out enjoying yourself to look out for your mates and make sure they’re making good decisions around alcohol, sex and consent.

New Zealand moves to a traffic light system on December 3, coinciding with the fifth annual Don’t Guess the Yes campaign.

The initiative aims to change attitudes and behaviours towards alcohol consumption and sexual consent.

Remember, if they’re out of it, they’re not up for it, says Senior Sergeant Ben Quinn.

The traffic light system will generally allow for more freedoms for the vaccinated and Senior Sergeant Quinn is urging drinkers to be mindful about how alcohol effects decision-making around sexual consent.

“We’re anticipating bars and clubs across the city to be busier than usual, as revellers make the most of their new-found freedoms in the first big weekend since restrictions eased.”

Bar staff will be wearing Don’t Guess the Yes caps and t-shirts, and the campaign is also being shared through posters and on social media.

A Don’t Guess the Yes workshop was held for those in the hospitality industry discussing the prevention, intervention, and response to incidents of sexual harm.

“The training and discussion empowers hospitality staff to recognise and take action when they see inappropriate or risky behaviour.

“Hitting the town isn’t an excuse to touch or harass someone.

“Those who are drinking are in a more vulnerable position and should not be taken advantage of – it’s important for everyone to remember this type of behaviour is completely unacceptable.”

The initiative is run in conjunction with Hospitality New Zealand, RespectEd Aotearoa, and Wellington City Council, with the support of Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association and Massey at Wellington Students’ Association.

“Wellington Police and our partners are committed to helping prevent adult sexual assault offending and victimisation by creating awareness and encouraging people to change their attitudes around sexual consent and alcohol consumption and providing education to partygoers on the impact alcohol has on decision-making and consent.

“We all have a responsibility to ensure our friends, loved ones, and fellow Wellingtonians are safe, so remember, don’t guess the yes.”

Don’t Guess the Yes targets young people under 30 years old who frequent Wellington Central bars and clubs. It’s success, since its launch in December 2017, has seen it recognised at Police’s National Investigations Awards, with the Wellington Area Investigations Team taking out the Investigative Excellence – Team Prevention Award in 2020. The initiative also featured at the Problem-Oriented Policing (POP) Awards in 2019.

The campaign recognises we all have a role to play in putting a stop to sexual violence.

When it comes to sex, strong and positive consent is the only kind of consent.

If you or someone you know is in danger call the Police on 111, or to report an incident that has already occurred call 105.

If you have been affected by sexual violence and need support contact Wellington HELP on their 24/7 support line, 048016655.

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