Let's talk about...women's safety

You Said, We Did – 2021 Women’s Safety Survey

In 2021 Southwark Council’s Safer Communities Team conducted its first ever Women’s Safety Consultation. To learn about women’s experiences in the borough and understand how safe women feel living, working, going to school and travelling in Southwark.

Findings provided invaluable information about how to improve the safety of all women in Southwark. For this, we want to thank you.

How Southwark Council responded

The 2021 survey – alongside Police crime data – identified five key locations disproportionately impacted by violence against women and girls (VAWG). These were:

  1. Peckham (Rye Lane)
  2. Surrey Quays
  3. Walworth (Burgess Park)
  4. Tooley Street
  5. Elephant and Castle.

Police Designing-Out Crime Officers carried out Environmental Visual Audits (EVAs) in each of the five areas to determine, and then deliver appropriate actions to reduce crime and improve women’s safety.

Action undertaken by Police Designing-Out Crime Officers across the five areas included:

  • Deep clean of streetscapes to remove graffiti and detritus from the footpath and road
  • Review of current street lighting to ensure it is operational.
  • Enhanced Police and Community warden patrols and CTTV observation.
  • Engagement with local businesses and market traders to remove goods/packaging from the footpath to ensure pavements are clear, with improved visibility and prevent areas of concealment.  
  • Relocation or cutting back of street planters and overgrown shrubbery to improve sight lines and reduce areas of concealment.

The results of the survey further served as an evidence base, used by Southwark Council to support its applications to the Home Office Safer Street Three Fund and Home Office Safer Street Four Fund, both of which were successful.

These rolling programmes aimed to increase identification of VAWG offenders, increase reporting of VAWG incidents, and decrease other street-based offences. The following has since been achieved:

  • Development and delivery of Southwark’s award-nominated ‘Through Her Eyes’ anti-misogyny campaign, which speaks directly to men and boys aged 16-25, asking them to challenge their own attitudes and behaviours to women, and that of others.
  • Specialist VAWG training delivered to street wardens, private security and CCTV operators to ensure street-based staff in high-risk areas have a strong understanding of appropriate response to VAWG and relevant support services.
  • A network of ‘Safe Havens’ across Southwark, where a variety of venues are trained to offer support to anyone who feels vulnerable.

Continuous Action

The 2021 Women’s Safety Survey is one part of Southwark Council’s wider commitment to tackle misogyny and violence against women and girls.

Hence, there has been continuous action to improve women’s safety in the borough.

Since the consultation, we commissioned Refuge to deliver a new support service to tackle domestic abuse and other forms of gender based violence. Refuge provide confidential, non-judgemental, and independent support services for those experiencing gender-based violence. For anyone living in Southwark.

  • A specialist independent gender-based violence advocacy (IGVA) team to support those at risk of serious harm
  • A specialist housing independent domestic abuse advocate (IDVA)
  • A specialist Identification and Referrals to Improve Safety (IRIS) advocate educator programme for those accessing support for domestic abuse through their GP
  • Access to adult one-to-one counselling and children’s therapy with partners Bede House
  • A sanctuary scheme to improve home safety
  • Group support
  • Perpetrator intervention

To access the service

Telephone: 0118 214 7150

Email: sdas@refuge.org.uk

For more information visit: www.refuge.org.uk

Page last updated: 08 November 2023

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