Back in June, our friend Sarah from the End Violence Against Women Coalition introduced us to Councillor Radha Burgess. Radha had been elected as a local councillor in Southwark, and had pledged to do something about women’s safety across the borough, especially on nights out.
After lots of discussion over a period of months about the issues involved, we were really happy to see that Southwark take harassment seriously and are ready to recognise the scale of the problem without flinching. We were able to share our knowledge and experience of discussing harassment with venues and having built Good Night Out from scratch – our national UK and Ireland wide nightclub safety campaign. We partnered with Southwark on to create a local equivalent – The Women’s Safety Charter. WSC launched this week, check out this coverage in The Independent, The Telegraph, Huffington Post and The Daily Mail (watch out for the awful stock photos on that last link!) Here’s the video news report from BBC London.
The Women’s Safety Charter principles are:
1. Prominently display high-visibility posters in the venue which discourage harassment and encourage reporting
2. To take every report of harassment and sexual intimidation seriously and take appropriate action
3. To take active steps to support persons who report harassment or sexual intimidation which might take place in their premises
4. To train all front of house staff to address women’s safety and harassment
5. To take active steps to ensure women leave the venue safely
As well as consulting on the posters and reporting, our main role has been to deliver our practical and empowering training workshops to licensed premises across the borough on the issue of sexual harassment.
Building on our Good Night Out training, which has already been provided to nearly a hundred venues across the UK and Ireland, the bespoke Women’s Safety Charter training increases confidence amongst both staff and punters to deal with, tackle and prevent harassment.
The training uses principles of empowerment from our work in the VAWG sector and applies them to the issues faced by the nighttime economy. It’s also about providing a judgement-free space for staff to discuss their own experience with managers, ensuring that they feel comfortable in making use of these approaches on shifts every day.
You can see the every expanding list of pubs, clubs, venues and bars signed up in London here.