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City comes together to improve the safety of Women and Girls

Richard Eyre, South Yorkshire Police, Deputy Lord Mayor, Louise Harrison Walker, Dr. Alan Billings and Steve Lonnia stood holding the charter document
(L-R) Richard Eyre - Director of Streetscene and Regulations, South Yorkshire Police, Cllr Ross - Deputy Lord Mayor, Louisa Harrison Walker - Chamber of Commerce, Dr Alan Billings - Police and Crime Commissioner, Steve Lonnia- Lead Officer for the Night Time Economy and Counter Terrorism

Key city organisations, partners and businesses came together last night to pledge their support to make Sheffield a safer city for women and girls at the launch of Sheffield’s first Women and Girls Night-Time Safety Charter.

The charter is a Sheffield City Council partnership initiative that aims to tackle violence against women and girls. Aimed specifically at employers and businesses, the charter provides practical steps to improve the safety of women and girls who work, visit, or socialise in the night-time economy, and will be accompanied by a citywide training programme for those who sign up.

Over 40 representatives from organisations across the city including the police, charities, universities, and hospitality venues were in attendance to find out how they can work together to ensure Sheffield is safe for everyone and make their pledge to adopt the ‘Seven Commitments’ the charter set outs.

These Commitments include nominating a safety champion, staff training, making improvements to premises to create a safer environment, and employing rigorous processes for reporting and dealing with incidents.

Sheffield City Council Deputy Leader, Councillor Julie Grocutt, said “It goes without saying that women and girls deserve to feel safe at night. Everyone should be free to enjoy what our great city has to offer without fear of unwanted attention and unacceptable behaviour. But violence against women and girls, especially at night, is far too prevalent and we will not ignore it.

“This charter calls for the city to come together to tackle the issue as no one organisation alone can fix the problem. It sets out steps we can all take to improve safety conditions, not just at night but at all times, and it sends a clear message that we as a city are making the safety of women and girls our priority.”

Support for the charter was clear and positive with Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Ross, Police and Crime Commissioner Dr. Alan Billings and Executive Directors of Sheffield’s Chamber of Commerce Louisa Harrison Walker giving keynote speeches and a number of city centre night-time licensees signing up to the charter on the night including Tiger Works, Bamboo Door and Bungalows and Bears.

Councillor Grocutt continued, “It’s been fantastic to see the number of city centre establishments show their support already and I urge businesses and venues across the city who have yet to do so, to sign up and help make Sheffield a fair and inclusive city, where everyone is safe and welcome.”

Kayleigh Waine from Bamboo Door in Leopold Square, one of the venues who has signed the charter, said “Half the population are made up of women and girls. As someone who works and goes out in the night-time economy, I know myself that there is a gap where we notice unacceptable things happening, but not enough being done or said about it. We need to be making steps towards fixing that and this charter is the next important step.”

The charter is available here.