Night Czar hosts London’s first Women’s Night Safety Summit
- Summit will bring together representatives from the capital’s night-time economy, transport network and police force
- Discussions will inform the first London-wide Women’s Night Safety Charter
Ensuring women in the capital are safe at night is the priority of a major summit organised by London’s Night Czar, Amy Lamé, bringing together women from policing, transport and the night-time economy.
Today’s Women’s Night Safety Summit, the first of its kind in London, will consider how to build on existing work by the Mayor, policing agencies and Transport for London, with a new commitment from other organisations to ensure that women feel safe at night whether they are on public transport, in a venue or at work.
More than 100 attendees from women’s groups, charities, businesses, councils, transport organisations and the police will participate in workshops led by Valerie Shawcross, Deputy Mayor for Transport, Justine Simons, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Joan Smith, Chair of the Mayor’s Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Board. Feedback and recommendations drawn from these workshops will help form the basis of the first London-wide Women’s Night Safety Charter.
Although women are less likely than men overall to experience crime in the capital, over the last year almost nine in 10 victims of sexual offences in London and 53 per cent of victims resulting in injury were female.* New collaboration between transport providers, businesses, venues and the police on the first London-wide Women’s Night Safety Charter aims to lower the risk of crime against women as they enjoy the capital at night.
Tackling violence against women and girls is already one of the Mayor’s top priorities, and the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) currently provides £9.3million for these services. In June he appointed London’s first Victims Commissioner, Claire Waxman, putting the needs of victims at the heart of his policing strategy.
In addition, schemes including the Met’s Ask For Angela initiative in London bars and Transport for London’s Report It To Stop It campaign tackling sexual harassment on public transport are already doing great work to help keep women in the capital safe, and encourage the reporting of crime. Since 2013, reports of sexual offences on London’s transport network have doubled to more than 2,000 a year, and arrests have increased by 36 per cent.
Set to be published within the next year, the Women’s Night Safety Charter will outline guidance for venues, clubs, operators and businesses to sign up to, with potential measures including training for front of house staff, posters to discourage harassment and encourage reporting, and a commitment to ensuring women leave venues safely. This builds on the work done by Southwark Council to develop the Southwark Women’s Safety Charter, which has seen 62 venues sign up to its principles.
As Sadiq Khan develops his vision for London as a 24-hour city, the capital’s night-time economy, worth £26.3 billion in 2016, has a significant part to play in women’s safety, with venues, clubs, operators and businesses forming a huge part of London’s nightlife and the workforce. With one in eight jobs in London supported by the night time economy and the potential to create another 115,000 by 2030**, the Mayor wants to ensure Londoners are safe wherever they are working.
Amy Lamé, Night Czar, said: “Ensuring London is safe and welcome at night is one of the Mayor’s top priorities, and as the capital becomes a truly 24-hour city, we need to embed women’s safety into our planning from the beginning. Our incredible array of bars, clubs and venues make London one of the world’s most vibrant cities after dark, but we all need to work together to make the conversation about our nightlife a positive one, and ensure that women feel confident that they can enjoy it safely. By helping to create the new Charter, venues, operators and businesses can do their bit to help make sure women feel safe, whether they’re on the Tube, at work, or on the dancefloor.”
Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor for Policing And Crime, who will deliver the keynote speech at the Summit, said: “London is one of the safest cities in the world to be a woman, but we want to make it even safer. By bringing partners together from across policing, transport and our capital’s night-time economy, we can develop a joined-up approach that helps ensure women are safe wherever they are in the evening and encourages them to report harassment or crime if it does happen. The first London-wide Women’s Night Safety Charter is a significant step forward in changing perceptions of the safety of London at night and encouraging women to make the most of everything the capital has to offer.”
Siwan Hayward, TfL’s Head of Transport Policing, said: “Safety and security is our top priority and we are committed to ensuring our transport network remains one of the safest ways to travel around London, day and night. We know some women have concerns about travelling after dark, and through our Safer Travel at Night and Report It to Stop It campaigns, and community safety activities with the police, we have worked to tackle those issues head on. By bringing key players from charities, organisations and night time industries together for the Women’s Night Safety Summit we hope to understand what more we could do to improve women’s safety when travelling at night.”
Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said: ““As a woman who works in London, lives in London, and goes out in London, safety is a top concern. London thrives thanks to its 400,000 night workers, two in five of whom are women. Many face low wages and uncertain hours. They should always feel safe at work, and be able to do their jobs free from harassment or hassle. This city belongs to all us, no matter what the time of day.”
Notes to editors
* Metropolitan Police Service crime data for 2016/17
**According to ‘London’s 24 Hour Economy’, a report by London First in association with EY: http://londonfirst.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Londons-24-hour-economy.pdf
- MOPAC is spending £9.315 million on services to tackle Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) in 2016/17. Of this, £3.85 million per year is allocated to local authorities to support local commissioning and strategies to tackle VAWG through the London Crime Prevention Fund. The remaining £5.465 million is directly commissioned by MOPAC for regional services.
- The ‘Ask for Angela’ initiative aims to reduce sexual violence and vulnerability by providing customers with a non-descript phrase they can use to gain assistance from staff members, in order to be separated from the company of someone with whom they feel unsafe due to that person’s actions, words or behaviour. Originally launched by Lincolnshire County Council, the scheme is now being rolled out across the capital following a successful Metropolitan Police pilot in Merton last year, which has so far seen more than 50 per cent of venues in the borough sign up.
- The Report It To Stop It campaign encourages passengers to report unwanted sexual behaviour to the police. Launched in April 2015, it follows the success of Project Guardian – a partnership between BTP, Transport for London (TfL), the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police – which began in 2013 and aimed to create a London transport network free from harassment.
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