Lambeth and Southwark councils join forces to protect women at night

Thirty-nine Safe Havens have been set up in the boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth to protect women who feel unsafe at night.

The selected businesses have received bespoke training with Safer Business Partnership, a crime reduction agency to ensure they can offer exceptional support to anyone who feels unsafe, scared or has been harassed.

This will include helping organise safe transport home or calling family, friends or the police.

Southwark Cllr Dora Dixon-Fyle MBE, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said “Women and girls should be able to walk around our boroughs without fear or intimidation. 

“Perpetrators and bad behaviour are not bound by borders, so working together to make our streets safer across both boroughs is crucial.”

A Safe Haven sign will be displayed in the front window of the business, to make clear they are part of the programme and there to help.

Each business that is part of the scheme has been carefully selected through analysing crime data to decide on the most at risk areas.

Charlotte Richards, a 25 year-old waitress, said: “Every woman has experienced some form of harassment on the streets but I hate it, it should not be a normal thing. 

“I think this new programme sounds great, as no one should feel scared to go out at night.”

Southwark Council has also unveiled a new initiative aimed at showing men and boys sexual harassment “through a girl’s eyes”. 

The initiative is aimed at challenging men to make it right by confronting their own attitudes and behaviours towards women.

Ben Taylor, a 21 year-old cashier, said: “It is sad that these things have to be put in place, but it is great that they are. 

“Southwark can be a dangerous place and that is just a reality.” 

Similarly Lambeth Council launched its “Look out for Lambeth” campaign aimed at asking men to call incidents of harassment taking place. 

Its mission is also to focus on shifting attitudes towards women.

Dr Mahamed Hashi, Lambeth Cllr and Cabinet Member for Safer Communities has taken to Twitter, now X, to discuss the issue:

One business that has joined the scheme is Oasis Hub Waterloo, Ellie Wormald, Advice Centre Coordinator & National Lead Practitioner, said: “The Oasis Centre mission is to provide a safe and accessible place for our local community to gather. 

“Becoming a Safe Haven is a natural extension of this, and compliments the holistic support provided by Oasis – we’re really pleased to start this partnership.”

Both boroughs now have Community Wardens who are specially trained to spot potential violence and harassment on the boroughs’ streets.

CCTV operators have also had specialist training so they can direct action on the ground.

All of the safe haven locations can be found here.

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