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Hear from Cllr Gareth Roberts on our commitment to ending harassment and violence against women and girls

7 May 2021

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread and devastating human rights violations in our world today. A staggering one in three women and girls globally experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

 

What we are doing

We want Richmond upon Thames to be a safe place for everyone – and we realise that extra attention is needed to improve the safety of women and girls in our borough.

The outpouring of stories of harassment and violence experienced by women going about their daily lives following the shock of Sarah Everard and Julia James’ murders is proof that we need to do more. We are committed to trying to end harassment and violence against women and girls, and we have outlined below some of the measures taken and planned in order to help us achieve this.

The Council has adopted new strategies and policies, increased efforts to raise awareness of violence and harassment against women and girls, and increased safety measures in its public spaces.

Strategy and Policy

  • We will become a White Ribbon Accredited Organisation this year. This means the Council meets the Public Sector Equality Duty under the Equality Act 2010. Gaining the accreditation is a challenging 6 stage process which can take several years to achieve. The accreditation commits organisations to a strategic approach to ending male violence against women by engaging with men and boys, changing cultures, and raising awareness
  • We are developing a Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy to drive forward improvements. The strategy will focus on support and protection for victims and survivors, tackling perpetrators, and long-term changes to attitudes and culture. The strategy is due to be published in late autumn after consultation
  • We are Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) accredited. The accreditation aims to improve the housing sector’s response to domestic abuse and aims to ensure everyone affected by domestic abuse is treated in a fair, compassionate, and effective way
  • Internally, the Council has policies regarding conduct and a specific policy regarding domestic abuse

Awareness Raising

  • We will continue to use our communication tools to raise awareness of support services for victims and survivors. It aims to increase this in line with its Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy
  • Practical advice promoted including Safer Neighbourhood Board information regarding ‘Go Girl’
  • Council staff work with schools to deliver awareness raising. This is also done through the Kingston & Richmond Children’s Safeguarding Partnership
  • The Council, in partnership with local police, held a series of Community Conversations on Community Safety toward from October 2020 – December 2020.

Public Spaces

  • We deploy Parkguard officers across the borough to provide high visibility reassurance, deterrence and enforcement as required
  • We have renewed the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for a further three years to October 2023, which prohibits a range of behaviours such as alcohol consumption, which can cause anti-social behaviour
  • 'Ask for ANI' has been promoted by pharmacies across the borough. Whilst the focus for this is on Domestic Abuse, it provides a safe space for anyone who may need it
  • 'Ask for Angela' is promoted in the borough’s pubs and restaurants to help prevent and reduce sexual violence and vulnerability
  • The borough’s lighting is maintained to a good standard to help people feel safe when out when it’s dark
  • CCTV is maintained to a good standard. The Council is planning to better coordinate with the police to increase its CCTV capacity and coverage. It is also exploring a National Police Volunteer scheme for CCTV monitoring
Orleans House Gallery was lit up in orange on March 17 in memory of Sarah Everard. The colour orange is used by the United Nations in its UNiTE by 2030 to End Violence against Women campaign.

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Up to: May 2021

Updated: 7 May 2021