“Our time is now” – Plan launched to improve safety of women and girls across West Yorkshire

The safety of women and girls in West Yorkshire is Mayor Tracy Brabin’s top priority, she said as she unveiled a plan to bring about societal change and end generations of injustice.The country’s first and only female metro-mayor has this week launched her Safety of Women and Girls Strategy at West Yorkshire’s annual Third Sector Conference in Calderdale.The strategy reveals the shocking experiences and challenges facing women and girls, including a recent survey that found 97% believe ‘being a woman’ affects their personal safety, and outlines a plan to tackle this.This will be resolved through four key areas of work to bring about change:

  • Education and Prevention: through events to raise awareness of the issue in schools, colleges, and universities across the region.
  • Behaviour Change: including delivering a behaviour change programme to empower men to be allies.
  • Safe Spaces: working to improve safety in the public, private and digital space.
  • And Supporting the Sector: securing funding for vital services in the region through working together with partners, including the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector and private businesses.

Each are underpinned by two cross-cutting themes, which are ‘the role of men and boys’, and ‘equality, diversity and inclusion’.The strategy, which puts the voices of women and girls at its heart, will be delivered in partnership with West Yorkshire Police, local councils, community organisations, businesses, and the public. A further £1 million of funding has been made available by the Mayor to support the it’s delivery. This builds on considerable work already ongoing in the region including:

  • £14 million for victims’ services across the next three years, many of which support women and girls.
  • A SmartTag spray for use in night-time venues that tags offenders with a unique forensic code so they can be identified and brought to justice.
  • Funding “Ask for Angela” services which enables those who feel vulnerable or unsafe to seek assistance in bars, clubs or businesses.
  • Over £500,000 for domestic abuse perpetrator programmes across West Yorkshire to reduce re-offending.

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said:  “We owe it to every little girl growing up in our brilliant and diverse region to provide them with a future where they are safe from harm. Male violence against women and girls is a scourge that must be addressed, and as someone who has experienced this first-hand, I have made that my top priority.“This plan, which has been co-designed with women, male allies and organisations across the region, sets out how together, we can make West Yorkshire a safe, just and inclusive place for women and girls.“Our time is now – we must do this together to overcome generations of injustice and harm and drive this important change.”

Alison Lowe OBE, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, said:  “As a survivor of sexual and domestic abuse, I feel a strong personal responsibility towards making West Yorkshire safer for women and girls.“When it happened to me many years ago, I did not believe that I had a voice. But I am here now as the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime in West Yorkshire to tell you that you will be heard, you will be believed, and you will be supported.“This Strategy builds on years of work, there’s still lots to do, but I can’t wait to see the incredible things we will achieve together.”The Mayor of West Yorkshire’s Safety of Women and Girls Strategy was co-designed through dedicated consultation events, a West Yorkshire wide call for evidence and public feedback from the Police and Crime Plan consultation.To find out more about the ongoing work to improve the safety of women and girls and read the strategy, visit https://www.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/a-mayoral-combined-authority/mayoral-pledges/the-safety-of-women-and-girls/safety-of-women-and-girls-strategy/.

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