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‘Women’s safety audits’ proposed by mayor at five locations across London

The women involved will share their “lived experiences” of travelling around London, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

Walthamstow Central Bus Station is one of the five locations proposed by Sadiq Khan (inset)
Walthamstow Central Bus Station is one of the five locations proposed by Sadiq Khan (inset)

Sadiq Khan has revealed plans to put women and girls “directly at the centre of decision making” around their safety.

The mayor is proposing to trial ‘women’s safety audits’ at five locations in the weeks following the London mayoral election on 2nd May, provided he is re-elected.

The women involved will share their “lived experiences” of travelling around London to influence future decisions over local police action plans and the design of Tube and bus stations, such as lighting.

It comes just one week after Khan’s Tory opponent, Susan Hall, pledged to appoint a “women’s commissioner” and target sexual harassment on transport if she becomes mayor.

She had said the Labour mayor “just isn’t listening” to women about their experiences of harassment and assault, and that she “will get a grip of crime and make our city safer”.

The audits will focus on five locations: Bakers Road in Uxbridge; Brixton Road/Ferndale Road in Brixton; the cycle route between Wembley and Harlesden; Paddington Green/Edgware Road in Paddington; and Walthamstow Central Bus Station.

The women will act as community researchers, both participating in and leading the audits. A total of 60 women from a range of ethnicities and ages will be involved, and will be paid the London Living Wage for around twelve hours’ work.

The mayor hopes the programme could then be expanded to further locations.

Khan said: “Nothing is more important to me than the safety of Londoners, and across the capital and the country more widely we’ve seen an appalling epidemic of violence against women and girls.

“Some horrific crimes have been committed against women in recent years, and every woman has their own unique story of being harassed, abused, assaulted or not feeling safe in public spaces. It’s simply not acceptable.

“This innovative new trial will put the direct experiences of women and girls right at the centre of how we make decisions about safety in London.

“Whether around how we design our tube or bus stations or where exactly we prioritise new lighting or other safety measures, it will ensure investment directly reflects the lived experiences of women and girls.”

Hall has meanwhile said her plan “will put more police officers on patrol, provide better support for those escaping domestic violence, put specialist violence against women and girls officers in every borough, and improve safety on the London Underground”.

She has called it “absolutely disgraceful that Sadiq Khan has failed to keep our city safe”, saying he has “had eight years to get a grip on crime in the capital and it’s actually getting worse”.

The mayor’s campaign team argues he “has overseen a record £163.8m investment” to tackle violence against women and girls, but that government austerity has “imposed £1billion cuts on the Met Police with a devastating impact”.


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