London Mayor’s record £44m commitment to make London safe for women and girls

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today published his strategy to tackle violence against women and girls, and the misogynistic attitudes that allow these crimes to continue, backed by a record £44m investment up to 2020.

Sadiq wants to make London the safest city in the world for women and girls, and that means every Londoner and every organisation playing their part to promote equality and to challenge sexist and misogynistic attitudes wherever they are encountered.

London is already one of the safest cities in the world for women, yet on average 11 women and girls are raped or sexually assaulted in each of the capital’s 32 boroughs every single week, while domestic abuse accounts for a tenth of all crimes reported to the Metropolitan police.

The Mayor’s new wide-ranging strategy follows the biggest in-depth consultation with survivors as well as Londoners, police and partners. It includes measures to tackle rape, sexual assault, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), trafficking, controlling behaviour, forced marriages, stalking, harassment, and misogyny – building on the recent international #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns.

The new plan for a safer city for women and girls includes:

On prevention:

  • A wide-ranging programme to improve safety in public spaces at all times of day and night including a new Women’s Night Safety Charter, partnership to tackle unwanted sexual behaviour on the transport network and a new campaign to tackle attitudes of everyday sexism and misogyny
  • Working with partners across London to gain accreditation to the UN Women’s Safer Cities and Safe Public Spaces initiative
  • Work to encourage positive attitudes, behaviours and healthy relationships amongst children and young people with specialist advocates in schools and pupil referral units, Safer Schools Officers and a whole school prevention pilot in Croydon
  • Supporting a Good Work Standard to address the #MeToo phenomenon and ensure abuse is not tolerated in the workplace

Tackling perpetrators:

  • £4m for programmes to tackle stalking
  • Working with police and criminal justice partners to ensure the most effective handling of dangerous individuals including over £3m to expand the rehabilitative Drive project which provides additional support to help reform the behaviour of perpetrators
  • Calling on the Government to create a register for perpetrators of domestic abuse and violence, and for tougher sentences for image-based offenses such as ‘upskirting’ and ‘revenge porn’

Protection and support for victims

  • £200,000 to support London Councils Harmful Practices programme – training nurses, midwives and social workers to recognise abuses such as FGM and intervene
  • A complete review of adherence to the Victims’ Code of Practice, a new online portal for victims of crime, and a study into rape cases from a victim’s perspective
  • Significant investment in general and specialist services for victims including £13m for sexual violence services, £5m for Domestic Violence services, and over £9m for services in London’s boroughs

The Mayor joined students and staff at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in north London in a discussion with women who have experienced harassment and now work with Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women’s group Imkaan.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “The safety of all Londoners is my first priority and as a proud feminist I find it simply unacceptable that any woman or girl in our city should experience these devastating crimes.

“As we mark 100 years since the first women were entitled to vote and in the week of International Women’s Day, it is time for every Londoner to call out sexist and misogynistic attitudes wherever they encounter them – in the workplace, at school, on the streets or on public transport.

“My new strategy puts forward a comprehensive package of measures to intervene and prevent violence against women and girls, to tackle dangerous individuals who pose a risk in our communities, and to improve services for victims who have already suffered so much.

“I want every woman and girl to be safe and to feel safe wherever they are in our great city – and will use all the levers available to us at City Hall to make this a reality.”

Imkaan is a UK-based black and minority ethnic women’s organization which works to prevent and respond to violence against marginalized European girls and women, who facilitated the consultation work with survivors that fed into the Mayor’s new strategy.

Marai Larasi MBE, Executive Director of Imkaan, said: “If we are to call TIME’S UP on violence against women and girls we need strong political leadership. We welcome the Mayor’s ongoing commitment to be one of those leaders.

“In the last 12 months, issues such as sexual harassment and rape have been pushed into the spotlight in unprecedented ways. We are particularly grateful to the survivors and women’s support organisations who shared their stories with us, and without whom this strategy would not be possible.  We must not lose this momentum. We look forward to working with our sister organisations and the Mayor’s office to ensure that London plays its role in ending violence against all women and girls.”

The Students’ Union at Central has recently led on a campaign launched together with the School – “Central Says Enough” – to address the issue of sexual harassment and violence on campus by bringing a zero-tolerance commitment to every corner of the institution.

Jake Saunders, Students’ Union President at The Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, said: “#CentralSaysEnough is a truly collaborative, preventative model for tackling sexual harassment and violence on our campus. We (Central SU) are working with our institution to implement a number of zero-tolerance practices that we hope will begin to become engrained in life at our school. For more information about the campaign, check out our website”

Dr Catherine McNamara, Pro-Dean and Director of Learning, Teaching and Student Experience at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama said: “There are several aspects to our work to tackle sexual harassment and sexual violence here at Central. A key aim for us, is to make our support and reporting systems more visible in order to rapidly build individuals’ confidence to speak with us, if they have experiences of this nature.  Working in a truly collaborative way with officers of our Students’ Union and with students more broadly is proving to be invaluable.  We are speaking with all staff and all students as well as making connections with a number of organisations and institutions beyond Central.”

London’s Victims’ Commissioner, Claire Waxman, said: “Listening to survivors has been a vital part of this consultation. They bravely shared their painful experiences with me and I want to ensure that we listen and act upon what they have told us. Working with the Mayor, I am determined to drive forward the changes and improvements we need to help victims cope and recover from their experiences.”

London’s Night Czar, Amy Lamé, said: “I want London to be the safest city in the world for women to enjoy at night – whether you’re enjoying a night in your local pub, working a night shift, taking a journey on public transport or up until the small hours clubbing. The Mayor’s Women’s Night Safety Charter will ensure that everyone can play their part to make sure the capital is a safe place 24 hours a day.”


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