£300,000 is to be invested in improving the safety of women in Hanley, Stafford, Cannock, Newcastle and Burton as part of the Safety of Women at Night (SWaN) Fund, following a successful bid submitted by the Staffordshire Commissioner’s Office.
The Home Office funding is designed to fund initiatives focused on preventing violence against women and girls (VAWG) in the night-time economy, in venues and on public transport.
It also aims to reduce the fear of VAWG, and improve women’s feelings of safety in public spaces at night.
In Hanley, Stafford, Cannock, Newcastle and Burton, the funding will be used to develop a range of initiatives including:
- Developing safe places within identified night-time locations, where women can seek advice, first aid and support
- Establishing safe routes to and from public transport in busy night-time locations
- Providing marshals / street pastors in busy night-time locations, to offer advice, signposting, basic first aid and help in managing the allocation of taxis
- Delivering vulnerability training for staff in the night-time economy
- Developing an accredited Women’s Night Safety Charter for organisations operating at night
- Developing awareness campaigns around different aspects of women’s safety at night.
The SWaN bid was developed by the Staffordshire Commissioner’s Office in conjunction with partners. It follows consultation with local women and girls in June 2021, which received around 1,500 responses and identified a number of measures which would make a real difference to their safety, as well as their feelings of safety in public places.
Ben Adams, Staffordshire Commissioner for Police, Fire & Rescue and Crime, said:
‘Reducing violence against women and girls – and the fear of violence – is a key priority for me as Commissioner.
‘This funding is a welcome addition to vital work already underway across the area with our partners. It will enable us to invest in a range of practical initiatives that not only increase the safety of women and girls but also ensure they feel safer too when enjoying nights out in our popular towns and cities.’
Although the SWaN initiative focuses specifically on violence against women and girls in the night-time economy, it forms part of Staffordshire’s preventative approach to reducing violence more broadly, including:
- Over £2m already secured through Safer Streets rounds 1, 2 and 3, with round 3 seeing £550,000 allocated to improving the safety of women and girls in Stoke-on-Trent
- Launching a partnership Violence Reduction Alliance to deliver the local Violence Strategy
- Holding a dedicated Violence Reduction conference in the near future
- Establishing a Violence Against Women and Girls Commission, to deliver related actions