Only half of women in Brixton Hill feel safe walking at night – survey

Lambeth town hall
Lambeth town hall in Brixton

Lambeth town hall in Brixton will tonight be lit in orange to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The council will also organise an online event to discuss its new Lambeth Made Safer Violence Against Women and Girls strategy.

A recent survey revealed how the issue affects many local people – especially women out at night.

Covering 2021 to 2027, the new strategy, has been co-produced with people having experience of violence against women and girls (VAWG), residents and practitioners from across the borough .

Lambeth council said the event tonight will be an opportunity for participants to hear from specialist speakers and to have their say on how Lambeth could be made a borough where everyone is safe.

woman speaking into microphone at public meeting
Jacqui Dyer

 Councillor Jacqui Dyer, council deputy leader and cabinet member for jobs, skills and community safety, said: “Improving the safety of women and girls in both public and private is a key priority for Lambeth council.

“We have protected VAWG support services in the borough from cuts and invested extra money over the last decade, despite significant reductions in its funding from government.

“But we know there is still much to do. The murder of Sarah Everard in March this year after she was making her way home to Brixton from Clapham has worsened feelings of safety for women and girls, with resident feedback showing only half of women in Brixton Hill feel safe from crime when walking in their local area at night.

“Since our last VAWG strategy was published in 2016, five Lambeth women have lost their lives to male violence.

“More needs to be done and we dedicate this strategy, which signals the way forward, to those who had their lives taken from them, as we commit to making Lambeth a safer borough for everyone.”

Representatives from statutory and voluntary services helped develop the new strategy. The council has also been awarded more than £500,00 by the Home Office to improve safety in public places, with a particular focus on reducing VAWG.

The council said that in Lambeth this work will focus on Clapham and Brixton, where the borough has the greatest number of offences. 

They are also hotspots for anti-social behaviour, violence, robbery and drug offences, which should also be impacted on by the new measures.

The project will look at how to improve feelings of safety in public places with a new Safe Spaces for Women and Girls group from the council, police, local community organisations including Black Thrive, our community-based specialist VAWG service the Gaia Centre and the Lambeth Anti-Harassment Campaign.

 A campaign is also being developed to target VAWG perpetrators. It will be introduced at schools and at the offending hotspots, with new, easier, ways of reporting concerns and dedicated experts to analyse the information.

New lighting, CCTV and better layouts in public places will also be put in place to stop offending.

Representatives from the council attended a police roundtable event on 3 November to launch the new Metropolitan Police VAWG action plan which is being consulted on.

Th council said this provided the opportunity to highlight Lambeth-specific initiatives and concerns as well as issues on a London-wide basis to influence national thinking and influence.

Cllr Dyer said: “Making Lambeth safer is our priority. We are ambitious – our vision is that Lambeth is a borough where everyone is safe.

“Too many women and girls are unsafe in public and in private and so we are clear – tackling violence against women and girls needs to be everybody’s business.”