Women’s safety: London’s first cross-borough network of safe havens launched by Lambeth and Southwark

21 September 2023

Lambeth and Southwark councils’ safe haven network is the first of its kind in London to cross borough boundaries in a joint bid to target harassment hotspot areas along their border.

Staff at the 39 licensed premises and other businesses in both boroughs undergo bespoke training with the Safer Business Network, a crime reduction agency.

Women who feel unsafe or have been harassed can get assistance at safe haven businesses, including staff helping organise safe transport home or calling family, friends or the police.

No.1 London Bridge in Southwark and Oasis Hub Waterloo in Lambeth belong to the scheme.

Dave Cox, Head of Security at London Bridge City, said: “London Bridge City aims to provide a welcoming, safe, and secure environment for all our customers and visitors. We recognise that this requires a multi-faceted and agile approach including embracing technology and supporting central and local government initiatives. We are pleased to help those in their time of need through Safe Havens on our estate.”2

Ellie Wormald, Advice Centre Coordinator & National Lead Practitioner (Community Support) at Oasis Hub Waterloo, said: “The Oasis Centre mission is to provide a safe and accessible place for our local community to gather. Becoming a Safe Haven is a natural extension of this, and compliments the holistic support provided by Oasis – we're really pleased to start this partnership.”

Cllr Dora Dixon-Fyle MBE, Southwark Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “Women and girls feeling unsafe at night in London is nothing new. But historically, authorities have responded as if perpetrators and bad behaviour are bound by borders. We cannot tackle street harassment in isolation. Our joint approach with Lambeth means women are within easy distance of a safe haven across our border in known hotspots.”

Cllr Mahamed Hashi, Lambeth Cabinet Member for Safer Communities, said: “Women and girls face on-street harassment and abuse regardless of where borough borders start and stop. The safety of women and girls is an issue we must tackle together, and the opening of our Safe Havens is another measure put in place to help support those who may be facing harassment or in need of help.

“The launch of our safe havens follows a programme of practical interventions we have established to deter perpetrators from harassing women and girls, such as dedicated street wardens and increased CCTV. We will continue to work together to prevent problem behaviours and support those affected by harassment and abuse.”

The new safe havens network is part of Lambeth and Southwark’s partnership work to tackle violence against women and girls in all forms. This will initially focus on areas along the borough boundaries including London’s South Bank, Loughborough Junction, Denmark Hill and Camberwell, which were chosen after analysing crime data.

The scheme was designed specifically around women and girl’s safety, but safe havens are open to support anyone who is feeling vulnerable or needs help.

Page last updated: 21 September 2023

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