Safer Streets campaign to improve women’s safety returns to the streets again for the summer
A powerful visual campaign to increase women’s safety, particularly around the transport network, has returned to the streets of Liverpool again in time for the busy summer holidays.
Safer Streets Merseyside campaign artwork will be featured on Merseyrail trains, at the region’s bus stations and in key locations, such as the city and town centres and by the region’s beaches and retail parks during the six-week break. It will also be featured on local radio stations.
The campaign aims to tackle Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) by making it clear to perpetrators there is No Excuse for behaviours such as catcalling and unwanted sexual comments, groping and uninvited touching. It also encourages anyone affected by sexual violence to reach out for support.
The communications campaign is just one aspect of Safer Streets Merseyside project which was developed following a survey, run by Merseyside’s Police and Commissioner (PCC), Emily Spurrell, which showed 54% of women felt unsafe using public transport in Merseyside at night and nearly 42% had concerns about using it in the day.
The PCC and Liverpool City Council have now worked together to secure two rounds of Home Office funding to run the campaign, with the second bid being used to roll the campaign out across the whole of Merseyside.
It has also enabled the campaign to be scaled up to deliver:
A ‘guardian project’, with LJMU student volunteers trained to provide support to those who need it in Liverpool’s night-time economy, such as helping people get home or providing emotional support.
Enhanced high visibility CCTV coverage along key bus routes used by students and other young people to head into and out of the city centre at night.
Travel centres at each of the bus stations, creating ‘safe spaces’ for anyone who feels vulnerable within travel centres at each of the bus stations.
An increased uniformed police presence in transport hubs and along Liverpool’s dedicated student bus routes and into the night-time economy at peak times on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as dedicated student event nights.
Educational training extended to reach more than 130 primary schools across the region raising awareness of staying safe online, sexual harassment and misogyny.
A new adult education programme looking to challenge misogynistic language and attitudes using a creative resource and digital activity which is anticipated to reach up to 53,000 employees across the region.
Councillor Laura Robertson-Collins, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “This campaign is designed to be very clear that there should be zero tolerance of sexual violence towards women and girls.
“We need to make sure that we are giving those affected the ability to report it quickly and easily, and also for others to have the confidence to know that it must be challenged.
“We are committed to working with partners to tackle these issues and change the behaviour of those who don’t show respect and safety for women.”
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “We are determined to make our region feel safer and be safer for women and girls, so I’m pleased we are once again rolling out our powerful visual campaign in time for the busy summer holidays, sending out a clear message once again that there is No Excuse for sexual violence.
“Our Safer Streets Merseyside campaign is taking a multi-pronged approach to tackling sexual violence – not just challenging perpetrators and unacceptable behaviour but also looking to change attitudes through our education programme. Through this campaign we are also taking practical steps to make sure women feel safer and give them the confidence to report incidents and seek support.
“This campaign is an important way I am delivering on my region-wide VAWG Delivery Plan which sets out a clear ambition to protect women and girls who live, work and visit Merseyside, prevent violence and pursue offenders. We’re making progress – but there’s still more work to be done.”
“This is an important project which will make a huge difference to the safety of women and girls in our city.
“It is vital that we don’t just challenge behaviour but also seek to change it, which is why the education element of Safer Streets is equally important.
“It is an integral part of my recently launched VAWG strategy, which committed to working with partners to tackle these issues and deliver a new normal of respect and safety for women.”
Chief Superintendent Ngaire Waine, Head of Investigations, Protecting Vulnerable People, Merseyside Police said: “I welcome the return of the Safer Streets campaign as we gear up to the busy summer period. Merseyside Police and partners continue to work together to make our streets safer for women and girls and send a clear message to perpetrators that these unacceptable behaviours will not be tolerated.
“No woman or girl should feel unsafe in her community, and I hope that the measures put in place as part of the campaign help to improve their feelings of safety and demonstrate that there is no excuse for sexual violence and harassment in Merseyside.”
Launched in March 2022, the first phase of the campaign delivered:
Enhanced CCTV coverage at city centre bus stations in Liverpool One, Queens Square and Sir Thomas Street
New ‘help points’ connected to the CityWatch control room and better links with emergency services
‘Bystander training’ for bus drivers and frontline bus station staff to help them better understand and know how to prevent sexual violence. The training will equip them to act as ‘guardians’, to make passengers feel safer
Educational training for up to 70 schools across Liverpool raising awareness of sexual harassment and misogyny.
A text message service enabling women and girls to report unwanted attention or sexual harassment while travelling by bus by texting SAFER to 65007.