The “Do the Right Thing” campaign, initiated by Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, has the backing of local celebrities such as musician Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim), actor John Simm, cricketer Tymal Mills and author Peter James.
Posters in train stations and supermarkets and beer mats in Wetherspoons and Harveys pubs across the county will include a QR code pointing to www.safespacesussex.org.uk/do-the-right-thing where a short video provides information about the campaign.
Visitors to the website can also sign up for free bystander intervention training that helps identify misogyny and sexual harassment and builds necessary confidence to tackle it.
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “The aim of my Do the Right Thing campaign is to encourage all men to challenge their friends and colleagues who may cross the line.
“Perhaps your friend has shared an explicit photo, or wolf whistled at a woman on a night out.
“These things may seem harmless or a bit of fun, but I would encourage anyone to consider how they would feel if the target of that attention was their partner, sister or mother.
“The vast majority of men would never condone or carry out such behaviours but there are still a distressing number who do and I know from a recent survey that women and girls across our county want to see the onus to tackle misogyny and sexual harassment placed on men.
“We all have a responsibility to call out misogyny, violence and abuse but that’s not always easy and some may lack the confidence to take that first step.
“Part of the campaign will be offering free bystander training, enabling participants to recognise these behaviours and understand their impacts, as well as learn and practice safe ways to challenge them.
“I’m calling on all Sussex men to please Do the Right Thing and help us to end violence against women and girls.”
Sussex Cricket player Tymal Mills, who stars in the campaign, said: “There’s no shame in admitting that it can be hard to call people out, especially if they’re mates, but it’s really important that we challenge unacceptable behaviour as part of our responsibility to make women and girls feel safe.
“Doing the right thing doesn’t have to mean making a big deal. Just having a quiet word to remind someone of how they might be making someone feel can make a huge difference.
“The Do the Right Thing campaign is a brilliant initiative, and I am very proud to be involved.”
Superintendent Steve Rayland, Head of the Sussex Police Public Protection Command said: “We fully support this new campaign by the Police and Crime Commissioner.
“This fresh call to men to recognise unacceptable attitudes and behaviour in themselves and those around them is very welcome and has the potential to help keep women safer.
“The police service is committed to taking action to prevent and detect such crimes and keep everyone safe, but it is clear that violence against women and girls is a societal problem that cannot be addressed by police alone.
“This issue is bigger than policing. It is part of a wider debate about what we must all do to challenge sexism and misogyny that exists in society in all its forms.
“We have just launched our own online survey to seek more information on harassment and sexual violence experienced by woman and girls, as part of our commitment to action on this crucially important issue.”
The Sussex Police online survey is at: https://www.sussex.police.uk/police-forces/sussex-police/areas/campaigns/campaigns/violence-against-women-and-girls-survey/
Businesses who want to get involved are invited to show their support for the campaign by signing up for the bystander training, or by registering their premises as a designated Safe Space for people to go to if they feel threatened or at risk of harm. It will then be included on the Commissioner’s soon to launch Safe Space Sussex app which will direct those at risk to available safe spaces nearby.