Women's night safety accreditation scheme launches in the West End

27 October 2023 by
Women's night safety accreditation scheme launches in the West End

The first UK accreditation scheme for businesses focused on improving women's safety at night has launched in London's West End.

The initiative, which falls under Westminster City Council's Night Safety programme, has been designed to combat incidents of sexual harassment.

It comes after a 2021 Westminster City Council survey revealed two thirds (66%) of women reported they had personally experienced street harassment in the borough, while almost half (45%) said they felt unsafe at night.

Businesses will be asked to apply for the accreditation via an initial questionnaire. Those that pass the first stage of screening will be requested to outline all the resources, procedures and training that are in place to ensure women's safety at the venue.

Successful businesses will be able to retain the accreditation for a year, as long as conditions are met during random spot checks by the council's inspectors.

They will also receive a certificate that can be displayed to notify people of their accredited status.

The scheme has been funded by a £289,600 grant from the Home Office, which has been divided into programmes that improve night safety in the area.

Tristan Moffat, operations director of Piano Works, an accredited business, said: "We are always pleased to be involved in any initiative that helps our guests to feel safe and welcome. Our musicians and entire teams are trained to spot unwelcome behaviour and we are delighted that our West End venue have been recognised and accredited by this excellent scheme."

Councillor Aicha Less, deputy leader and cabinet member for communities and public protection and licensing, said: "The West End should be a fun and safe place for our residents and visitors to enjoy. Everyone, especially women, have the right to feel safe. But unfortunately, the anti-social behaviour of some individuals can ruin a night out or someone's experience of our city.

"With more businesses joining the scheme, we can create a trusted network of venues where people feel safe, and staff can call out unwanted harassment."

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