Kingston Council to further increase work with local communities to improve safety for women and girls in the borough
Kingston Council have today announced they will be carrying out a year long programme of work to address the safety of women and girls in the borough.
From May 2021, the first phase will include asking residents, businesses, visitors, staff and partners to share their views around the safety of women and girls in the borough. This will be the beginning of a long-term campaign to ensure that the voices of all women and girls are heard loud and clear.
Iona Lidington, Director of Public Health at Kingston Council, said:
"The safety of all women and girls has always been a high priority for us and that’s why we are committed to safeguarding and preventing harm. As more services re-open for face to face support, we want to better understand the extent of threatening or intimidating experiences of women and girls in public spaces, views on accessibility to support and ways in which safety can be improved.
“We work closely with the Police and other partners to ensure local support services are accessible to victim survivors and ensure work is being done at a local level to tackle sexual violence. We will be launching a survey soon which we hope will highlight what more can be done or identify any gaps in our work to keep women and girls safe, as well as help us explore opportunities for community led projects and provide training to community champions to support this work going forward.”
The second phase of the campaign will include expanding the multi agency working group to incorporate views of professionals from across the borough to identify how we better communicate and reach out to women and girls and further encourage reporting of incidents of harassment. Survey responses will be analysed to identify key themes and gaps, to be shared with the Violence Against Women and Girls Board (VAWG), operational groups and other new working group to address issues and concerns.
Finally, the third phase will include the development of a new VAWG strategy, identifying and acting on practical steps to improve safety, looking at establishing longer term and regular VAWG community forums as well as preventative work and education within the borough.
Kingston Council has established a COVID-19 Recovery Working Group with the Police, local specialist services and relevant partners to create an effective action plan around messaging, appropriate referral pathways, hearing the voice of the survivor, tactical and on the ground work as well as upskilling local professionals through training.