On 23 June, Marsha de Cordova MP for Battersea will be launching a “Safe Spaces” initiative to improve levels of safety in the community, primarily for women and girls. This follows De Cordova’s announcement of the initiative earlier this month.
Together with the local Metropolitan Police and Wandsworth Council, the Safe Spaces initiative will encourage businesses in Battersea to sign up to become a safe space for anyone that feels unsafe, as well as adopt best practices to ensure that their premises are safe. The initiative will be piloted on Northcote Road with the launch event taking place at Oddono’s Gelati.
The need for women’s safe spaces
The initiative comes in response to the rise in gendered violence against women and girls across the UK in recent years, including the murder of Sarah Everard so close to home on Clapham Common. Police have recorded rape and sexual offences are at record highs while prosecutions and convictions are at all-time lows.
Marsha de Cordova MP for Battersea said: “I am pleased to be launching this initiative which will ensure women and girls can always feel safe, wherever they are and whatever the time in Battersea. Working with the Met Police and the local council, I hope many businesses sign up to be a Safe Space.The initiative builds on my earlier campaigning to improve safety in Battersea public spaces such as my work to improve the lighting under the bridge at Falcon Road and making our Commons safer.We all have a responsibility to protect women and girls in Battersea – it must be a community effort.”
Superintendent David Bannister, Wandsworth Neighbourhood Police said: “It is really good to work with our partners to develop this programme, which will tackle crime affecting more vulnerable members of our community and keep Wandsworth residents safe. We look forward to rolling out further initiatives in the coming months as we deliver our strongest ever neighbourhood policing plans. We are here to fight crime, to keep people safe and to look out for our communities.”
Elizabeth Oddono, Director of Oddono’s Gelati, said “I am very proud to be hosting the launch of Marsha’s Safe Spaces initiative. As a woman living in Battersea, I know from personal experience how important it is to feel confident when going about the area. The safety of women and girls isn’t just a women’s issue but rather, concerns us all. We have a duty to stand in solidarity with women and end the scourge of violence against them. I look forward to participating in the program, offering a space for women and girls at risk or in danger along with the rest of my neighbours in the business community along Northcote Road.”
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a serious issue in the UK. There is still much work to be done to eliminate violence against women and girls in the UK. It is important for individuals, communities, and institutions to work together to challenge harmful attitudes and behaviours, provide support to victims, and hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. Marsha De Cordova’s intiative is a positive move as ultimately, by providing support, empowerment, and opportunities for growth, safe spaces contribute to fostering gender equality and promoting the overall well-being of women.