Women’s safety initiatives to move ahead following conference
Partners across Essex will develop a range of initiatives to address women’s safety across the county in key areas such as town centres and on public transport.
On the day when the murderer of Sarah Everard was sentenced to whole life order at the Old Bailey, the online Women’s Safety Partnership conference shared the latest survey data and insight highlighting the circumstances, such as locations and behaviours, which contribute to women feeling threatened and unsafe. The conference was organised through Essex Partners and Essex County Council’s Safety Advisory Group.
The conference, which included Essex Police, local women’s groups, support organisations and representatives from the media, discussed how to:
• work with men to understand the impact of inappropriate behaviour towards women and supporting changes in behaviour where necessary
• make public spaces safer and ensuring they feel safe
• improve the safety of the night-time economy
• ensure public transport is safe and feels safe, and;
• challenge stereotypes and negative attitudes and language towards women.
Ideas from the conference will now be taken away for development. A cross-party reference group will discuss and review the proposals as part of the decision process on how to allocate the £500,000 contribution from Essex County Council to improve safety for women.
Cllr Louise McKinlay, ECC’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community, Equality, Partnerships and Performance, said: “Today was an important step towards the aim of improving the safety of women.
“Through our work to date and this conference, we wanted to spark a conversation about public safety at a county level that leads to real, tangible action and change.
“We have worked hard over the past few months to gather data and insight about the real experiences of residents from across Essex. Thanks to the contributions from attendees at today’s conference, we will now begin to turn ideas into action.
"It won’t come about overnight, but we know we must make a difference – the significance of today’s sentencing for the murder of Sarah Everard will not have been lost on anyone who has contributed and I am grateful to all involved.”
Details of the final plans will come forward by the end the year.