People experiencing street and sexual harassment in Bradford are being urged to report their experiences on-line to help stamp it out, as part of a zero-tolerance campaign.

The Speak Out campaign took over Centenary Square yesterday to make sure its message was heard loud and clear.

Partner organisations backing the people empowering initiative are Bradford College, the Neighbourhood Policing Team, Bradford University, Touchstone, Bradford Council, Bradford Youth Service, City Centre Beat, Sustrans and the students’ unions at both the college and university.

Funding has come from the Bradford West Area Committee to prove the point that by speaking out, action can be taken to put a stop to it.

In the past 12 months there have been 20 harassment reports in the City Ward, and there were 16 known incidents in both the two years before that.

But Emma Smith, who is Bradford College’s community engagement manager, said: “I’m sure in reality the figures are much higher than that but people don’t report them because they think it’s not significant enough – but it is.

“We need to build a clear picture of what is happening and where so that we can target it and stop it.”

People were being invited to stick their thoughts and harassment experiences on a large megaphone in Centenary Square, and there was a map of the City Ward for people to pinpoint where they felt the issues were.

Abuse being shouted from speeding cars, missiles being thrown from vehicles, wolf whistles and being followed on foot at night were among some of the accounts left.

Great Horton Road, the campus areas, Horton Park, the Interchange and Centenary Square were attracting hot-spot stickers for trouble.

Sergeant Andy Heald, of the City Ward Neighbourhood Policing Team, said it was all vital information.

“Fighting harassment is a local priority for us,” he said.

“Officers are tasked daily at all times to patrol the area. It’s not bad but we have work to do to improve it and help people feel safer.”

Youth worker Maureen Rowe said seeing the map would help her keep young people better informed about where to avoid in the city.

“It’s helpful to know exactly where people have had experiences. It’s not about scaring anyone, it’s just about being able to keep them safe and better informed,” she said.

A roaming video booth was also making visual and audio recordings of people’s views on the issues and people were being asked to put coloured counters into giant ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ jars to say if they had ever been harassed in the city.

University student Chelsea Broadbent, 18, said: “Interestingly the girls are all saying ‘yes’ and the boys ‘no’ but I’m not sure that it isn’t just a macho thing."

Fellow student Toby Mayomi, 19, said: “People don’t seem to be sure what harassment is – they think it has to be physical and sexual, but it’s not. It’s people shouting at you, putting pressure on you, making inappropriate comments, it’s all harassment.”

Charlotte Heravi, 17, of Gomersal, said it was not just a city centre problem. “I’ve been followed home before and I live in Gomersal. It can happen anywhere."

Katie Green, 18, of Bingley, said: “I’ve felt threatened at the Interchange before and had things shouted at me.”

Emma Romanowicz, 32, has just started work in Bradford as a probation officer.

She said: “I feel safer walking round Bradford than I’d expected and it’s still great to see a campaign like this happening. It shows awareness."

To report harassment, anyone – not just students – can go online at Every report will be passed to the police.