Inappropriate Behaviour

Safer Gyms

Active4Today is pleased to be a member of the Safer Gyms initiative. 

Safer Gyms is a scheme, which will be launched in Winter 2023, in Newark and Sherwood, to increase feelings of safety for women and girls within leisure centres and gyms.

We know that attending the leisure centre for any activity, is a key part of many people's lives so, as part of the Newark Safer Streets Project, we have joined local partners to ensure our fitness facilities are enjoyable and a comfortable space for all members.

The Safer Streets Project has already brought some great successes within local pubs and restaurants, however, a gap has been identified within the fitness industry, as this is also a common place for inappropriate behaviours towards women and girls.  

Many experiences will go unreported with women choosing to avoid certain areas of the gym or make other changes to prevent a repeat experience. Although this may be the most comfortable option for women, it leaves the behaviour unchallenged which allows the individual to become more confident.  This can lead to an increase of the severity, or frequency, of such occurrences.

Active4Today has supported the development of a series of improvements which include specific training for staff to be able to not only recognise when someone might be feeling uncomfortable in our facilities, but also, do something about it.  This might only be as small as a distraction or more formal reporting and taking more direct and assertive action.

We’ve also reviewed the layout of equipment and types of equipment available, ensuring we’ve always got staff available and engaging with customers, privacy for members taking part in classes and increased signage displayed with member rule eg. No photography. 

Survey Results

A survey was designed to gather the views of women surrounding feelings of safety within gyms.

The “Exploring women’s experiences within the fitness industry” survey was open for all of Nottinghamshire residents to complete and closed on 31st March 2023.  A total of 488 people responded to the survey, with 135 women having had an uncomfortable experience or interaction whilst attending the gym.

The survey asked respondents to select types of behaviours they had experienced which made them feel uncomfortable.  Here are the results:

As a result of these experiences survey respondents shared what effect it had on them:

Results show that 82% of experiences were not reported to either the police or the leisure centre and with 50% of respondents not knowing how to report incidents, we’ve taken action to make sure people know where to go for help.  

Have you felt uncomfortable in one of centres or activities?  Have you witnessed something that was inappropriate, either behaviour towards someone, or something been said? 

If so, please report it to us at the time, to the operations manager on duty.  Our staff need to know about it as soon as possible so we can get all the details and make a decision on the next steps. 

We may seek advice from our partners at Nottinghamshire Police, or NSDC Safeguarding Team but most importantly, please rest assured that all reports are in confidence, and you will be kept in the loop on what we’re doing, to ensure this doesn’t happen to someone else.