As part of a review of its policy around the safety of women and girls, instituted in the wake of Sarah Everard’s terrible murder, the council has agreed to sign up to the Women’s Night Safety Charter, which is included in the Mayor’s Tackling Violence against Women and Girls Strategy and highlights London’s commitment to the UN Women Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces global initiative.
Being part of the charter means organisations that operate at night – including more than 700 business and organisations – and more than 20 London boroughs agree to sign up to the following simple pledges which aim to promote women’s safety at night:
– Nominate a champion to actively promote women’s night safety
– Demonstrate to staff and customers that your organisation takes women’s safety at night seriously
– Remind customers and staff that London is safe but tell them what to do if they experience harassment
– Encourage reporting by victims and bystanders
– Train staff to ensure that all women who report are believed.
– Train staff to ensure that all reports are recorded and responded to.
– Design your public spaces and workplaces to make them safer for women at night
The council will also work towards achieving White Ribbon accreditation. White Ribbon UK is a charity that engages with men and boys to end violence against women and girls, and accreditation is a public commitment to working towards changing attitudes, and encouraging behaviour change among men and boys.
Among other interventions to improve the safety of women and girls, the council will invest in the street pastor programme, helping train and deploy an additional 20 street pastors to busy night-time economy locations where women have previously raised concerns about safety at night.
Our licensing team will deploy dedicate roving Welfare Licensing Officers to check that premises such as pubs and night clubs are promoting welfare and safety inside their premises and checking that vulnerable customers are safe inside and outside their premises.
We will also carry out a survey of women and girls alongside Crimestoppers to discover what they feel about the safety of Merton’s night-time economy as well as considering a number of other linked issues such as exploitation and modern-day slavery.
Councillor Agatha Akyigyina, Cabinet Member for Partnerships, Public Safety and Tackling Crime, said: “It’s an important milestone in our efforts to improve safety for women and girls in the borough that we’re signing up to the Mayor’s charter.
“Women must feel safe on the streets of the capital after dark, and this initiative, among other moves, commit us to making Merton, already one of the safest London boroughs, into an even more welcoming place.”