Work to improve women’s safety in Essex ramps up

Crime / Tue 28th Sep 2021 at 08:15am

ESSEX County Council’s Safety Advisory Group (SAG) will be joined by key partners at a bespoke event this Thursday (30 September) to discuss and plan the collaborative action needed to address women’s safety across the county.

The SAG was established in May this year with the aim of identifying the changes and action needed to protect women against violence and to reduce the fear of violence.

Since then, the group has collated existing insight from different services to better understand the issue and proactively engaged with Essex residents to gather their views and experiences.  

Working with Essex Police, local women’s groups, support organisations, representatives from the world of media, other agencies and residents, the event on Thursday will be a chance to share this insight and explore the next steps needed to effect real and sustainable changes, based on the evidence gathered – 

Based on feedback to date, the event will include a focus upon:

  • Helping men to understand the impact of inappropriate behaviour towards women and supporting them to make changes as needed 
  • Making public spaces safer and ensuring they feel safe
  • Improving the night-time economy so that it can be enjoyed safely
  • Ensuring public transport is safe and feels safe for those using it
  • Challenging stereotypes and negative attitudes / language towards women

Ideas for positive change will be explored with partners in the session and recommendations will be made by the end of this year that will deliver lasting and tangible improvements for women’s safety, supported by up to £500,000 from ECC.

Cllr Louise McKinlay, ECC’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community, Equality, Partnerships and Performance, said: “When I set up the SAG earlier in the year, I was very clear that I wanted it to be a beacon of change, something that sparked the conversation about public safety at a county level and brought about real, tangible action. I was also very clear that this change would not be something that happens overnight.

“We have worked incredibly hard over the past few months to gather insight, document views and hear about the real experiences of residents from across Essex. It is important that we fully understand the breadth of the issues faced and how we might collectively address them as the basis on which to drive action.

“I remain as committed as ever to not only working with partners to address public safety issues, but also in challenging attitudes towards women in society. The event this week is another significant step towards this.”

Reflections and learning from the event this week will be used to inform next steps and the further development of the plans.

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