SOUTHWARK PLAN WOMEN’S SAFETY CHARTER FOR BARS, CLUBS AND LICENSED RESTAURANTS
Work to introduce a women’s safety charter for licensed premises across the borough has been started by Southwark council.
The charter will tackle what Southwark call the “notoriously under-reported issue of harassment” and in particular its occurrence in bars, clubs and restaurants.
“Working in partnership with licensees across the borough, the council will introduce a set of commitments designed to give women the confidence to report incidents to venue managers” said a council statement..
“Southwark is characterised by its busy nightlife and is home to three alcohol saturation zones (Borough and Bankside, Camberwell and Peckham) with just under 500 licensed premises across the borough – making bars and clubs a meaningful place to start.
“The women’s safety charter is just part of the council’s wide ranging campaign to improve the safety of women in the borough. “Over the next four years, the council seeks to introduce a host of other pioneering schemes to help keep women in Southwark safe.”
Cllr Radha Burgess, the country’s first ever deputy cabinet member for women’s safety, said:
“Typically, harassment is seen as ‘normal’ and goes without being reported or even spoken about.
“As a council we believe it is time this trend was reversed and that women are made to feel confident enough to speak out against incidents that make them feel uncomfortable, intimidated or threatened.
“The consultation will introduce the idea of a women’s safety charter to residents and licensees, and guide our plans for a formal agreement to tackle harassment. “If supported, this is just one of the initiatives we hope will make Southwark a safer place to be.”
The intensive listening exercise will involve a series of local community events and an online questionnaire, which closes on Friday 10 October 2014.
In a separate statement headed: “Let’s talk about… women’s safety” the council add:
“We want to hear from Southwark residents, whether male or female, about what we can do to make women feel as safe as possible in the borough.
“We would like to ask you about your experiences of harassment in clubs, bars and everyday life.
“We would also like to know how it was handled and what we can do to improve how these issues are dealt with.
“What you tell us will have an impact on what we do over the coming years and how we shape our services.
“Just go to our online form and help make a difference to the lives of women and girls in Southwark.
“We are also having a community conversation around the important issue of domestic abuse, if you would like to take part then please visit:http://www.southwark.gov.uk/domesticabuse.”