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New ‘haven’ campaign to keep women safe from harassment in South London

By Claudia Lee

Lambeth and Southwark councils are set to establish 40 safe havens in known harassment hotspots under a new campaign that has launched today.

Women and other vulnerable people will be able to access safety and support at these hotspots when in need at night-time.

The new safe havens network is part of Lambeth and Southwark’s partnership work to tackle violence against women and girls in all forms.

This will initially focus on areas along the borough boundaries including the South Bank, Loughborough Junction, Denmark Hill and Camberwell, which were chosen after analysing crime data.

Licensed premises and other businesses in both boroughs will undergo training with the crime reduction agency, Safer Business Partnership.

Councillor Mahamed Hashi, Lambeth’s cabinet member for safer communities, said: “It is completely unacceptable for women to feel unsafe in their own homes or on the streets of our borough, and we have worked hard over many years to tackle the scourge of violence against women and girls.”

Staff will offer support to anyone who feels unsafe or has been harassed, including helping organise safe transport home or calling family, friends or the police.

A Safe Haven sign in their window tells people where they can get assistance.

The campaign in Lambeth will continue the efforts started by the authority’s “Look out for Lambeth” campaign in March.

Look out for Lambeth focused on changing behaviours and attitudes to women.

Southwark council is launching its own positive action campaign today, where men and boys will see sexual harassment through film and posters that offer the victims perspective.

Men and boys will be asked to challenge their own attitudes and behaviour, and that of others.

Both boroughs now have community wardens who are specially-trained to spot potential violence and harassment on the boroughs’ streets.

CCTV operators have also had specialist training so they can direct action on the ground.

Southwark councillor Dora Dixon-Fyle, cabinet member for community safety, said: “We must tackle the toxic attitudes that underpin male violence against women and girls.”

A website has been set up for members of the public to report concerns at lambethsaferstreets.commonplace.

For more information visit southwark.gov.uk/through-her-eyes or www.lambeth.gov.uk/email-disclaimer

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