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Women Safety Audits launched in bid to put women and girls at centre of decision-making around community safety

20 March 2024, 06:00

Sadiq Khan has launched Women Safety Audits
Sadiq Khan has launched Women Safety Audits. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has launched Women Safety Audits, in a bid to involve women and girls in decision-making around community safety.

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The trial, which is taking place in five locations across London, will see public bodies work directly with women and girls to design policies.

The audits will be conducted by 60 women from different parts of the capital - up to 12 representatives in each location - who are being recruited and trained to conduct research in their local communities and gather feedback.

They will help determine how decisions are made around safety in the capital, how public spaces are designed, and where resources are allocated.

The representatives will conduct the audits themselves, with help from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), experts from University College London (UCL) and urban researchers We Made That.

Participants will be paid the London Living Wage for around 12 hours of work.

The project is intended to better understand the lived experiences of women and girls and then use information gathered to help create policies, working with police, local councils, businesses and charities.

If the trial is successful, there are plans to roll out the audits in communities across the whole of London.

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It comes after Tory London mayoral candidate Susan Hall pledged to appoint a 'women's commissioner' as well as targeting sexual harassment on the Tube.

She said she would want the commissioner to work with Transport for London (TfL) as well as MOPAC while also putting more resources into women's refuges and places of safety.

Where will the Women Safety Audits take place?

The trial, which is taking place between May and June 2024, will cover five areas, with a particular focus on transport hubs.

The areas are:

Bakers Road, Uxbridge, Hillingdon [May]

Brixton Road/Ferndale Road, Lambeth [May]

Cycle Future Route 23 - Phase 1 - Wembley to Harlesden, Brent [June]

Paddington Green/Edgware Road, Westminster [June]

Walthamstow Central Bus Station, Walthamstow [June]

Mr Khan said: "Nothing is more important to me than the safety of Londoners, and across the capital and the country more widely we’ve seen an appalling epidemic of violence against women and girls.

"Some horrific crimes have been committed against women in recent years, and every woman has their own unique story of being harassed, abused, assaulted or not feeling safe in public spaces. It’s simply not acceptable.

"This innovative new trial will put the direct experiences of women and girls right at the centre of how we make decisions about safety in London.

"Whether around how we design our Tube or bus stations or where exactly we prioritise new lighting or other safety measures, it will ensure investment directly reflects the lived experiences of women and girls."

The full list of candidates running to be Mayor of London.

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