Towards a safer world for womankind

Published 26 August 2021 | by Jillian Kowalchuk

Towards a safer world for womankind

Safe & the City was pleased to be a part of the most recent UK Home Office’s Accelerated Capability Environment (ACE) event, which aimed to solve public safety and security challenges arising from rapidly changing digital and data technologies. The ‘Towards a Safer World for Womankind’ event brought together the leading experts across the UK from industry, government, policing and academia to innovate collaboratively and deliver impact. Notable attendees included Dame Vera Baird, the Victim’s Commissioner for England and Wales, Dame Cressida Dick, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and Dr Nina Cope, Director General of the National Crime Agency.

The people in the room leading efforts across the UK are all in agreement. We need to do much better to prevent and protect women and girls. The statistics are grim. In a room of 10 women and girls in the UK, you could expect on average, for 1 of women to have been sexually assaulted, 2 women who have experienced stalking, nearly 6 to have been groped and 8 to have experienced sexual harassment in a public space. In 2021, if you were raped and took it to court, there is only a 3% chance your perpetrator will be convicted. No wonder so many women and girls feel silenced, vulnerable and unsafe.

The tragic rape and murder of Sarah Everard was discussed throughout the event as a reminder of when we ignored the signs. Many continue to view sexual harassment, such as indecent exposure as jokes or part of ‘boys being boys’ without formal investigation of these behaviours being a part of a spectrum of violence to learn from to prevent. The Metropolitan Police Officer, Wayne Couzens, who killed Sarah, had three reported indecent exposure incidents, with many more likely unreported. When we fail victims like this we break their trust and increase the difficulty to prevent further violence and such tragedies.

We’ve had many dismiss Safe & the City, as a ‘nice to have’ or a great story without wanting to see the statistics, stories and impact of sexual harassment of the people under their duty of care. We were proud to represent the tens of thousands of incidents and voices from our communities that demand change, that knows each incident of sexual harassment is an opportunity to change and prevent that or even more violent behaviours from happening to someone else. With more organisations catching on to the severity of these issues, needing to detect and mitigate these risks we’re proud to partner with the others from this event driven to make a system change.

One of the most potent takeaways that resonated with me days later was the equal representation and mutual respect of men and women determined and passionate to solve violence against women and girls in the UK. It gives me hope that we can make the changes needed to create safer spaces for women and girls wherever they may go.

Want to join us to be a part of that change?