The new strategy, covering 2021 to 2027, has been co-produced with those with experience of violence against women and girls (VAWG), residents and practitioners from across the borough – and the event tomorrow night will be a chance for people to hear from specialist speakers and to have their say on how we can make Lambeth a borough where everyone is safe.
Councillor Jacqui Dyer, Lambeth’s 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 said they feel safe from crime when walking in their local area at night.
“Further, 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 across key statutory and voluntary services helped develop the new strategy, making contributions to its goals and commitments. Lambeth Council has also been awarded more than £500,00 from the Home Office to improve safety in public places, with a particular focus on reducing VAWG.
In Lambeth this work will focus on Clapham and Brixton where the borough has the greatest number of offences. These are also hotspot areas for anti-social behaviour, violence, robbery and drug offences, which should also be impacted on by the new measures.
The project will also 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 new campaign is also being developed that targets VAWG perpetrators will be introduced at schools and at the offending hotspots, with new easier ways of reporting concerns and dedicated experts to analyse the information to be put in place. 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 on November 3 to launch the Mets new VAWG action plan which is being consulted on. 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 VAWG needs to be everybody’s business.”