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Safer Streets Funding Initiative

A cross-borough partnership led by Kingston Council has received almost £200,000 from the Home Office’s Safer Streets funding initiative (opens a new window) to continue its innovative work to tackle violence against women and girls in South West London. 

The partnership, made up of Kingston, Richmond, Merton, Wandsworth councils and the Met Police South West London, will adopt a whole-system approach to tackling the issue. This includes delivering training to night time economy businesses on safeguarding within their spaces, breaking down barriers to seeking support by raising awareness of local and national services, and providing bystander training and education.

Councillor Sabah Hamed, Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and 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. We work closely with the Police and other partners to ensure local support services are accessible and ensure work is being done at a local level to tackle sexual violence, sexism, as well as harassment and abuse against women. 

“This partnership work has contributed to making Kingston one of the safest boroughs in London, but there is always more that can be done to improve the experience that women and girls have in public spaces. The work we are implementing directly reflects feedback we have received from the community.”

Last year, Kingston Council became a White Ribbon accreddited organisation, increasing the knowledge and skills internally for staff to address violence against women through male ambassadors, working with communities to raise awareness and improve safety for women and girls, and engaging with schools and youth settings around preventative work. The council has also signed up to the Night Charter and carried out an engagement with residents in Kingston about women and girls safety in public spaces, informing the development of a Kingston specific VAWG strategy.

Sarah Clay, CEO of Voices of Hope charity and Lead of the Women’s Hub in Kingston, said:

“On a local level, there has been a growing partnership of organisations working together, including the council, to help women to thrive after experiencing male violence. It is essential that we continue to raise awareness of the issue and develop cohesive strategies and early interventions, working with the night-time economy to make our streets safer and working with women to increase the understanding of the help and support that police and other organisations can give.”