Successful Funding Bid to Target Violence Against Women and Girls

The South Yorkshire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has been successful in securing £550,000 of funding to help make women and girls feel safer in public spaces.

The third round of the Safer Streets Fund was launched earlier this summer, making available £23.5m of funding to police forces and local authorities for projects that have an emphasis on the safety of women and girls.

Police and crime commissioners were invited to coordinate bids on behalf of their areas for projects that make physical improvement to public spaces as well as those that help to change behaviours and attitudes in local communities.

The Police and Crime Commissioner has submitted bids to each of the funding rounds and has secured funding for South Yorkshire in each. The majority of the funding – £460,000 – is to install innovative lighting and CCTV within four parks – one in each of the districts:

  • Dearne Valley Park, Barnsley
  • Edenthorpe Park, Doncaster
  • Clifton Park, Rotherham
  • Ponderosa Park, Sheffield

These were selected following public consultation about experiences and feelings of safety in public places. Over 2,000 responses pointed to a sharp drop in feelings of confidence at night-time and highlighted that parks/woodland areas were the areas where women felt most unsafe.

The work to make improvements and install the lighting and CCTV will be undertaken by the four local authorities over the coming months. This will be undertaken in consultation with local communities to agree on the final designs.

Dr Alan Billings, south Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “This is the third pot of money we have successfully bid for this year under the Safer Streets programme, bringing our total for South Yorkshire to in excess of £2 million.

“Making the streets a safer place for women and girls is a top priority for me and has been highlighted in my transitional Police and Crime Plan for this year. Everyone has a right to feel safe and to be safe in their communities and I am pleased that the Government has also recognised this and is providing us with opportunities for additional funding to make public spaces safer.”

A further £70,000 was awarded to develop a countywide communications and education campaign to target perpetrator behaviour and attitudes. This work will be supported by the final element of the bid, which has provided £15,000 to undertake a wider consultation to capture the voices of people from all backgrounds and cultures.

Dr Billings added: “The clear message from the consultation work undertaken is in line with recent national headlines following the sentencing of Sarah Everard’s killer. Those surveyed told us that more needs to be done to target the perpetrators, instead of asking women to change their behaviour and take precautions.

“We will be working with our partners to develop clear messaging and educational information to challenge behaviours and instigate cultural change to ensure women and girls feel safe on our streets and in public spaces.”

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, Community Safety and Finance, Cllr Saghir Alam said: “We very much welcome this funding which will enable us to support women to feel safer within Rotherham and across South Yorkshire by targeting the behaviour of perpetrators and aiming to improve feelings of safety. We particularly look forward to working with local groups on the trialling of the innovative new lighting designs in Clifton Park as part of this work.”

Councillor Rachael Blake, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “We welcome the third round of Safer Streets funding and the opportunity to be part of the initiative to support women and girls to feel safer in public spaces, both locally and across the region.

“We will be working with the Friends of Edenthorpe Park group to ensure that the improvements really make a difference.  We hope to be successful in future funding rounds so we can make improvements right across the borough to make women and girls feel safer.

“The new project will enhance our ongoing work to build safer, stronger and more confident communities across Doncaster.”

A further bid has been submitted by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner under round four of the Safer Streets funding to enable women to feel safe at night. The bid aims to provide a higher level of plain clothes and uniformed policing presence in Sheffield city centre on weekends to target those predatory men and safeguard vulnerable women.