Much has been discussed about women’s safety at night, particularly following the high profile tragedy of Sarah Everard in London. Here, Sarah Walker examines the Women’s Night Safety Charter, an initiative designed to bolster commitment from businesses operating in the capital to play a part in increasing the safety of women in London at night.
Women’s Night Safety Charter
Data from the latest European Social Survey has found that 32% of women feel either unsafe or very unsafe walking alone at night. The recent devastating loss of Sarah Everard has highlighted why many women are scared to be alone in our cities when it gets dark. More should be done to make women feel safer at night. Londoners, in particular, share this view and have called on the Night Czar to prioritise women’s safety. In response to these calls the Mayor has created the Women’s Night Safety Charter: to make London a city where all women feel confident and welcome at night.
The charter is part of the Mayor’s Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy and London’s commitment to the UN Women Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces global initiative. It is a key scheme that is being revitalised as part of the Mayor’s ambition to make London a 24-hour city.
One of the key ways that the Charter seeks to be successful is by asking companies, businesses and organisation that are operate at night to sign-up to some simple pledges:
- Nominate a champion in your organisation who actively promotes women’s night safety
- Demonstrate to staff and customers that your organisation takes women’s safety at night seriously, for example through a communications campaign
- Remind customers and staff that London is safe, but tell them what to do if they experience harassment when working, going out or travelling
- Encourage reporting by victims and bystanders as part of your communications campaign
- 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 work places to make them safer for women at night
The Mayor’s Office is looking to raise the profile of the Women’s Night Safety Charter which was first launched in 2018 and is supported by a toolkit on the GLA website. There are currently nearly 500 signatories to the Charter and there is a real opportunity to grow the signatory base which was originally more night-time economy focused. All organisations have a part to play in having an impact on women’s safety at night, either from an employment, customer or a public authority perspective. Safer Business Network is carrying out a scoping exercise to find out more about the support that signatories need to help them meet the objectives of the Charter, and will be publishing a report on next steps in August.
For more information or to sign up to the charter please visit: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/arts-and-culture/24-hour-london/womens-night-safety-charter
Sarah Walker has over 20 year’s experience of the Evening and Night Time Economy (ENTE) from her previous roles at the BII (British Institute of Innkeeping), Best Bar None National Co-ordinator and Purple Flag Programme Manager.