Hounslow Council has signed up to the Women's Night Safety Charter, originally launched in 2018.
Published: Friday, 19th March 2021
Yesterday, the Mayor of London renewed his commitment to women’s safety by calling on organisations across the capital that operate after 6pm to sign up to the Charter. Hounslow Council has responded immediately, signing up today.
The charter provides an important opportunity for organisations, businesses and venues to show their commitment to ensuring women are safe, and to take practical steps to make all women feel confident and welcome at night.
Cllr Katherine Dunne, Cabinet Member for Communities and Climate Emergency, who signed the Charter, said:
“Addressing issues of women's safety is a key part of this Council's work and signing up to the Charter is a women's safety measure among many already in place. Hounslow Council has a long record of careful and serious work on women’s safety. Our new ‘Safer Communities Strategy’ commits to 'work with everyone, so everyone feels safe'. Our Violence Against Women and Girls Plan was created through extensive interviews, workshops and focus groups with survivors and key partner agencies and consultations completed with residents, survivors, partner organisations and young people’s groups.
“We are adding Council money to an MHCLG grant for a new Violence Against Women and Girls co-ordinator post to work alongside existing Violence Against Women and Girls, and Hate Crime staff.
“We are one of only six London local authorities awarded White Ribbon Town status for our commitment to ending violence against women and girls and we have held that award since 2015.
“The 2017 Joint Targeted Area Inspection reported many positive aspects of our domestic violence work including our One-Stop-Shop’s excellent work supporting victims, our strong multi-agency risk assessment arrangements, and The Let’s Talk programme’s support of parents and children who have lived with domestic abuse.
“Our unique Learning to Respect Domestic Abuse Education Programme, has delivered key messages to boys and girls about healthy and respectful relationships for 17 years in our schools.
“Years of work with women and specialist groups, including our own domestic and sexual violence team, mean we understand what is needed. The recent, justifiable, national anger about male violence and the safety of women and girls, both on our streets and in their homes. tells us it is time to broaden the conversation, to start to understand the critical role that men need to play in ensuring women's safety. They need to listen to women, challenging and changing behaviours and attitudes that mean women feel, and too often are, unsafe. As we develop our safety policies, and our approaches to violence against women and girls, the challenge of engaging with men and their role in all of this is one we will soon return to.
“Community safety has been and will always be a priority for the Council. Our £17.3m investment in LED lighting across the borough seeks to improve safety, and reduce both our carbon footprint and financial costs, But as Dr Ellie Cosgrave of UCL recently made clear, tackling safety issues for women and girls is not simply about putting in some lights and hoping they make public spaces better and, in fact "over-lighting" some can make other areas feel less safe. The best way forward is to understand areas’ social dynamics; listen to those affected, conduct surveys, speak to people, and implement change based on what they say.
"As a woman, I understand the fears and challenges faced, but with a commitment to listening to the voices of all women, I will do everything I can to make sure women and girls feel safe on our streets and in their homes.
"We will start by encouraging women and girls to report abuse and crimes to the Police”.
Women and girls seeking help with abuse or violence issues should contact:
Hounslow One Stop Shop on 07810 031 780
Refuge 24 Hour Helpline 0808 2000 247
Gateway (support for rape, sexual violence and abuse) 0808 801 8660
In an emergency women and girls are advised to call the Police on 999