Organisations across London are being urged to help ensure women stay safe across the capital at night by signing up to the Mayor’s Women’s Night Safety Charter
The safety of women and girls on London’s streets has been brought into sharp focus following the tragic death of Sarah Everard.
The Mayor Sadiq Khan is urging councils, businesses, venues and other organisations to support the charter as he sets out his bold vision for how a safe and thriving night-time reopening can lead the city’s economic and social recovery from the pandemic.
Almost 400 organisations have already signed up for the charter since it was introduced in 2018. It sets out guidance for venues, operators, charities, councils and businesses to improve safety at night for women – including better training of staff, encouraging the reporting of harassment and ensuring public spaces are safe Capital Arches McDonalds, the Ministry of Sound, Drinkaware, the O2, Portman Group, Lambeth Council, and Transport for London are among those who have already signed up to the charter and pledged to take action to help lower the risk of crime against women when they are working or enjoying a night out.
The Mayor today unveiled a series of measures to support the future of the capital’s life after 6pm and called on the Government to do more to help struggling night-time businesses and enable councils to improve high streets for all at night.
Before the pandemic, 1.6m people regularly worked between 6pm and 6am, with the capital’s economy at night growing faster than in the day and contributing billions to the UK economy. With the right support the night time sector can lead the city’s recovery and the Mayor has set out a series of policies to support London at night, including:
- Women’s Night Safety Charter – the first-of-its-kind charter was developed to encourage councils, businesses, venues and other organisations to prioritise women’s safety at night. It comprises seven key pledges to improve women’s safety and perception of safety at night. This includes better training of staff, encouraging the reporting of harassment, and ensuring public spaces are safe. The charter is part of the Mayor’s Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy and London’s commitment to the UN Women Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces global initiative.
- World-leading guidance for councils to develop a Night Time Strategy – clear guidance on how councils, communities and businesses can work together to break down barriers to create diverse and inclusive plans to revive their areas at night. This includes improving access to public spaces and making them more welcoming, making use of vacant premises for evening and night-time use, giving boroughs the tools to do this effectively and creating a forum to work together.
- A Night Time Data Observatory – a range of research and data on London at night, including spend and footfall data down to high street level, to provide an essential evidence base to help boroughs make informed decisions on where to best focus their efforts.
- The High Streets for All Challenge Fund – a £4m fund for projects which re-imagine our high streets and support the recovery of central town spaces. Every London borough is entitled to apply for funding and are encouraged to consider nightlife in their applications for the investment.
- Night Time Enterprise Zone – a Night Time Enterprise Zone pilot in Walthamstow saw independent businesses and local retailers encouraged to extend their operational times and new evening enterprises were supported in a low-cost and flexible environment, providing an invaluable blueprint for boosting high street activity after 6pm.
- Support for businesses – The Mayor’s £2.3m Culture at Risk Business Support Fund has helped support London’s more than 240 grassroots music and LGBTQ+ venues with dedicated advice and grants. Bakeries, music venues, pottery studios, historical walking tours and cafes were also among more than 420 small businesses which benefitted from the Mayor’s innovative Pay It Forward London scheme, which raised more than £1.5 million from over 20,000 crowdfunding contributions.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said, “We have all felt the outpouring of grief and anger from women following the tragic death of Sarah Everard, and the daily reality of male violence against women and girls. Things can and must change. I am committed to taking action to improve safety for women at day and night and that includes urging organisations across London to get behind the Women’s Night Safety Charter which will help venues and councils to take some simple, but important, steps to help women and girls feel safer on our capital’s streets after dark.
“As we emerge from the pandemic, our city’s life at night has a vital role to play in both our economic and social recovery. That’s why we have laid out some of the boldest and most innovative plans for life after 6pm in any global city to help revive London’s high streets and ensure they are safe, inclusive, rescue our world-class night-time industries and support our vital night workers.
“But without the right financial support from the Government, that recovery cannot be guaranteed and that’s why I’m asking ministers to join with us in supporting our night-time businesses so they are ready to welcome Londoners again as lockdown measures begin to ease.”