Former Love Island star Sharon Gaffka has partnered with Thames Valley Police to raise awareness of the work the force is doing to tackle violence against women and girls.
The 26-year-old found fame on the seventh series of hit ITV2 dating show last year and has since used her public platform to campaign for women’s safety.
Gaffka has teamed up with Thames Valley Police to create content from behind the scenes at the force to give the public an insight into how they respond to sexual assault and rape offences and increase awareness of how to report such crimes to the police
The partnership is aimed at young people who may be less inclined to engage with the police
Speaking about the project on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Gaffka said: “90% of my following is predominantly young female, and I’m also part of that group of women that has a very turbulent relationship with the police and sometimes find it hard to trust the police, especially with stories that we’ve seen in recent times.
“So for me, it’s a learning curve to understand first-hand a bit more about what policing can do and how to potentially rebuild that trust between policing and young women.
“And also, I found that with other campaigns and other pieces of work I’ve been doing, a lot of young women are very forthcoming with a lot of things to me that they wouldn’t be to somebody else.
“So for me, it’s trying to bridge that gap as well as learning myself.”
Chief Superintendent Katy Barrow-Grint, who appeared alongside Gaffka on the programme, said: “We wanted to work with Sharon because we thought it was a unique opportunity for us in Thames Valley to reach a younger audience.
“Sharon works really well with younger people and you will probably know that policing sometimes finds it really difficult to speak to young women and girls and we want to work with Sharon to encourage women and girls who are victims of sexual violence to report their concerns.”
Earlier this year Gaffka endorsed the Stamp Out Spiking campaign and spoke publicly about her experience of being spiked, which led to her being found unconscious in a toilet cubicle in 2020.
The reality star encouraged better education on spiking and at the time told Good Morning Britain: “I was victim to being cast as being too drunk as opposed to being spiked… I have always advocated for better education around the subject of spiking because there are great things on the market that can deter people, especially with lids on drinks.
“My fear is that they will just move on to a different way of spiking so it won’t just become drink spiking, and we are seeing it more with spiking by injection.
“I think go down the educational route to show people what symptoms of spiking look like.”
Good Morning Britain airs every weekday morning on ITV.