More than three thousand take part in Ealing Borough consultation
Women and girls in Ealing are concerned about their safety at night time
Ealing Council says that over 3,000 people have taken part in its recent consultation about the safety of women and girls in the borough
Following a spate of violent crime against women in London including Sarah Everard, Bibaa Henry, Nicole Smallman, Sabina Nessa, Zara Aleena and many others , there has been widespread discussion about the safety of women and girls in public spaces. In the UK findings show that 97% of women aged 18-24 have reported experiencing harassment in public.
In response to this the Safer Ealing Partnership (SEP) ran a public listening exercise to hear the views of women and girls over the age of 13 who live, work and travel in the Borough of Ealing.
The consultation included a survey, focus groups and an interactive map where they could pinpoint specific areas where they have experienced harassment or felt unsafe. Focus groups were held in partnership with support organisations including: Southall Black Sisters, Eastern European Services and Bollo Brook Youth Centre.
The survey found that 57% of respondents had experienced inappropriate behaviour, comments or harassment in the borough. Of these, only 14% had reported incidents. 60% of participants suggested that clean and well-maintained areas with CCTV cameras and police presence would improve their safety and 93% of people reported that better lighting would contribute to safer public spaces – in three specific locations.
Throughout the consultation it was discovered 90% of respondents were unaware of support organisations in the area. There was also little awareness of safety campaigns such as Ask for Angela and Street Safe, or safety features embedded in smart phones. Participants raised issues around the role workplaces and organisations can play in changing attitudes and raising awareness in relation to these schemes.
From listening to the concerns of women and girls across the borough, the SEP has developed an action plan to tackle these unacceptable behaviours and attitudes towards women and the council has committed £355,294 to implement, through improved street lighting, increased CCTV cameras, accessible reporting and an expansive education programme.
Key provisions in the action plan include:
• Education: Ealing will be running workshops and educational programs with key community groups and secondary schools focused on identifying and challenging unacceptable behaviours
• Communication: The SEP will create a dedicated Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) website that provides links to support organisations and resources, as well as information on reporting
• CCTV: The SEP will be installing and upgrading CCTV cameras in the borough, along with clear signage and a QR codes linking residents to the VAWG website
• Street lighting: The Council will be enhancing street lighting, with a focus on darker side streets and areas of concern identified by respondents. There is also a pledged to upgrade more than 3000 streetlights in the borough to LED, which will allow for the future instalment of motion sensors
• Reporting: The police in Ealing have committed to an officer contacting all female informants and victims of open-space violence or unwanted sexual attention
• Community: The police have also pledged to run a Walk & Talk activity once a month and run community activities and events to reach out to and build confidence in communities
Councillor Aysha Raza, cabinet member for tackling inequality, extended her thanks to all the people who participated and assisted SEP in this important piece of work.
Councillor Peter Mason, Leader of Ealing Council said, “Male violence against women, and women’s safety in public spaces has rightly captured the public consciousness and demands both local and national action.
“Our listening exercise is just the first step in tackling inequality, challenging misogyny, and making Ealing a fair and inclusive place, where everyone is welcome.
“Everyone must both feel and be safe. Only through listening to residents and working with the Metropolitan Police and partner organisations can we make the necessary improvements - and come together to improve the safety of women, and everyone, in our borough.”
“Thank you to all the brave and honest women who took part in the consultation. It has been so encouraging to see the thousands of responses – and this is just the start of the conversation. Through listening to your voices, and your experiences, we are able not only to set out the challenges, but also set out real and meaningful action to improving women’s safety in Ealing.”
To find out more about the listening exercise you can read the full report on the council website.
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October 13, 2022