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Thursday, 14 December 2017 12:21 am

Students being asked to Check Yourself as tertiary year begins

Feb 22nd, 2017 | By | Category: Editor's Picks, Front Page Layout, Lead Story, News

The words “Check Yourself” will be in the face of young people from this week, on everything from bus backs to bar toilet doors and social media.

The campaign is designed to keep people safe and minimise anti-social behaviour including nuisance, sexual harassment, vandalism and violence.

Check Yourself is a partnership between Wellington City Council, New Zealand Police and Massey University, and is being supported by other local tertiary institutions and radio stations.

Council Safe City Advisor Julia Hamilton says the goal is to change the behaviour of people in the 18–25 age group, which is over-represented in anti-social behaviour statistics, as victims and as perpetrators.

The issue was identified through the council’s partnership with the Neighbourhood Policing team, while working on community safety projects.

“We recognised that this was an issue and wanted to find a way to address it,” Hamilton said.

They asked Massey University Creative Enterprise students how design could help address the over-representation issue.

The answer was Check Yourself.

Fourteen students developed initial ideas, and the council chose three of them to develop the campaign material.

“I think that is a real strength of the campaign, that it’s developed by people of the age group,” Hamilton said.

“They were able to understand what’s going to work, what wouldn’t, and make sure that it was the right tone.”

Hamilton says the campaign centres on the idea of actions and consequences, and hopes it will create a tool that enables young people to think about their behaviour.

“The phrase Check Yourself can be used as an internal reflection, or if I’m seeing one of my friends doing something that I don’t really think is a very good idea, I can step in and say ‘Have you checked yourself?’

“So it’s almost giving young people a tool, in a hip kind of way where they don’t feel uncomfortable.”

Four campaign stages each focuses on a key area of anti-social behaviour, starting with nuisance running February 20 – March 20.

Sexual harassment, vandalism and violence-centred phases will be rolled out later to coincide with university semesters.

Each of the four areas has its own video, which presents scenarios of common social situations and encourages viewers to understand the consequences of their actions so they can make better decisions and reduce the risk of harm.

The videos will be posted on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TV3 and Bravo’s online sites, and another video, featuring Kiwi celebrities, will appear on Instagram.

Support partners Massey, Victoria University, Whitireia and WelTec will spread the Check Yourself message throughout their campuses, and the Edge radio station will promote the campaign at local events, including O Weeks, HomeGrown and the Dragon Boat Festival.

Posters, radio ads, free waterbottles, a council webpage will support the message.

A social media competition encouraging people to reflect on themselves through one of the carnival mirrors being set up on central city streets and their share pictures on Twitter and Instagram using #CheckYourselfNZ.

“We’re encouraging people to interact with the mirrors,” Hamilton said.

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