Greater Manchester has secured £549,744 from the ‘Safer Streets’ fund to launch a series of schemes aimed at helping women and girls feel safer when out and about across the region.
The securing of the funding follows the launch of Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s (GMCA) Gender-Based Violence Strategy last month – which GMCA says outlines how it and its partners will tackle the many forms of gender-based violence through a whole-system approach over the next 10 years.
The strategy was launched after extensive consultation and engagement with individuals, professionals, community groups, and charities – including those that support victims.
During the consultation, street harassment and harassment on and around public transport, were some of the most frequently-mentioned issues raised by women and girls, who said they wanted to feel safer and know who to contact if they did feel unsafe.
The ‘Safer Streets’ fund was launched by the Home Office in 2020 and allows Police and Crime Commissioners and local authorities across the UK to apply for funding for crime prevention plans.
GMCA says Greater Manchester’s successful funding bid – which was submitted alongside Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), and Oldham Council – will be used to “deploy and test several interventions” on the tram network and at key stops to respond to the issues raised by women and girls.
If proved successful, the schemes could be rolled at more widely – including beyond transport.
The funding will cover pilot interventions including:
- A reporting campaign led by TfGM to educate passengers on reporting mechanisms and to increase reporting of incidents via the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) Live Chat System.
- Working with women and girls to understand what training and campaigns they would like to see and developing a bespoke package to deliver to boys and men.
- The presence of trusted adults and trained staff to increase security to prevent serious incidents, as well as test more informal approaches to educate and engage people and increase safety and reporting.
- A safe hub and safe places scheme, which will enable increased security to prevent serious incidents using a detached youth team and Street Angels to educate and engage people and increase safety and reporting.
- Integration and upgrades to the CCTV system in key locations so that images can be instantly shared between TfGM and council systems, increasing facial recognition and coverage, and better enabling tracking of routes to car parks.
- 570 staff – including Customer Service Representatives, TravelSafe officers and tram drivers – will be trained to spot and appropriately respond to incidents and to encourage increased reporting.
- A poster campaign displayed across the tram network designed by students on acceptable/unacceptable behaviours such as catcalling.
These schemes will be trialled, and their success measured, with the intention of “sustaining and expanding successful interventions” across Greater Manchester, GMCA assures.
Speaking on the securing of funding, Bev Hughes – Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire – said: “GMCA has worked with partners to develop a long-term strategy to end gender-based violence and ensure Greater Manchester can be one of the best places in the world to grow up, get on and grow old.
“The Safer Streets fund pilot schemes are just the first steps in our 10-year journey to enhance the safety of women and girls, while preventing gender-based violence from happening in the first place and challenging the attitudes and inequalities that enable it.”
Find more about Greater Manchester’s Gender-Based Violence Strategy here.
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