By Clara Gaspar
Last week, Durham Students’ Union announced the launch of Pincident, a digital tool designed to track incidents of harassment, violence and street discrimination in Durham.
Pincident is an online mapping tool which anonymously records incidents of this nature, as well as occasions of bystander intervention.
Placed on a map of Durham, each virtual pin records an incident, thereby raising awareness of the prevalence of the problem.
Incidents are colour coded by the type of incident (e.g racial, sexual violence, disability related, LGBT+ etc.)
The pins are also placed according to the general area of Durham in which the incident took place, in
order that patterns of behaviour can be observed.
Although Pincident does not formally report these incidents to the authorities, Durham Students’ Union aims to provide a means by which people can be open about their experiences, as well as providing a list of appropriate contacts so that victims may issue a formal report or seek support.
Durham Students’ Union have consulted the police and local council about the new endeavour, aiming to work with the authorities to reduce incidents.
The development of the tool follows on from a recommendation made by Universities UK, in a report called ‘Changing the Culture’, published in October 2016, which stated:
“The Taskforce recommends that universities should take reasonable and practicable steps to implement a centralised reporting system.”
In order to promote the launch of the tool, students have been walking around Durham wearing giant pin costumes.
Rosa Tallack, Welfare and Liberation officer told Palatinate:
“I’m really excited to have finally launched Pincident and to be able to see so many students interested in the tool.
Pincident addresses the fact that hate crime, harassment, assault and discrimination are happening far too often in Durham in a number of different ways.
It raises awareness that this behaviour happens and cannot be ignored; it directs those who have suffered from this behaviour towards support; it provides a stepping towards the official reporting of incidents; it promotes bystander intervention; and it collects data that can be used to tackle this behaviour more effectively in the future.
“The amount of pins that have appeared on the map already show that we have a need for Pincident and I hope that launching the tool represents a positive move towards making Durham a safer and more welcoming space for all.”
At the time of writing, over 24 incidents had already been logged by the tool, including cases of rape, groping and cat-calling.
Durham SU will be using social media in the coming weeks to promote the tool.
Photograph: Durham SU