Making our streets safer for women and girls

9:58am - 14 December 2022

Funding to help tackle violence against women and girls has been awarded to North Somerset Council and Somerset County Council.

Neighbouring councils have made a successful joint bid to the Home Office Safer Streets Fund for £324,449.

The bid is an innovative and collaborative proposal by the two councils covering the whole Somerset policing area. The goal is to work together to achieve positive outcomes in tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG).

The plan sets out a two-tiered approach involving:

  • Prevent - to change behaviour and stop incidents occurring. This can be achieved through VAWG education and awareness in schools, communications campaigns, and engagement in communities
  • Protect - to strengthen the response where these incidents are prevalent. This can be done through the safe haven scheme and enhancing CCTV camera networks and street lighting.

In assessing the joint bid, the Safer Streets Fund Team commented: "We were impressed with this bid. It effectively analysed the and drivers of the problems in your target area. It also identified a suitable response to tackling the issues. These were all deliverable within the 2021/22 financial year.

"We look forward to working with you on this round of funding. We believe it can make a real difference in tackling crime and helping individuals and communities feel safe in public spaces."

"I believe the funding and work proposed will have a massively positive impact across the area. It is a much-needed injection of cash in an area that has been long neglected. More investment will help make women and girls feel safer and better protected on our streets," said Cllr Mike Solomon. He is North Somerset Council's executive member for neighbourhoods and community services.

"This is predominantly about stopping these crimes happening. This can be done through education in schools, multi-media communication campaigns, and engaging with local communities. It also helps to make our public areas safer for women and girls by providing safe havens and improving street lighting."

Cllr Claire Paul, Somerset County Council’s cabinet member for community safety, also commented. “I would like to congratulate North Somerset Council and Somerset County Council on successfully securing round three of the joint bid. I hope that the outcome from this work will help reduce VAWG and increase women and girls' safety in public places.

"With this work we want to understand and address the root causes of why women may not feel safe on the streets. We look forward to building an evidence base for what works on reducing VAWG crimes. We will also improve local data on such crimes.”

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford also commented. “Additional support to tackle Violence Against Women and Girls has never been so important. I am delighted to see Somerset and North Somerset being awarded Home Office Safer Streets funding.

“Collaboration and partnership working at local level is key. As are clear steps and measurable actions for our organisations so transformation can happen. I am extremely supportive of the preventative programmes being undertaken within local schools. These will seek to promote healthy relationships between young people.

“This preventative work is supported by increased surveillance in public spaces to make them safer. Statutory agencies and organisations need to make public spaces safer for women and girls. They need to implement further preventative and protective strategies. I look forward to supporting the local authorities’ work.”