Our most recent Friday Hub on June 11th aimed to inform women about existing safety initiatives happening in Leeds. Safety initiatives aim to help us feel safer in our city, as well as materially improving safety, but the effectiveness of such processes partly rely on women being well-informed about them and able to confidently participate in and access them. As part of our drive to encourage residents of Leeds to “Switch on to Women’s Safety”, we decided to hold this special Friday hub to help women access this information. We are grateful to Sarah Carroll, West Yorkshire Police’s Strategic Engagement Officer for Women and Girls, for joining us to explore these existing initiatives and answer women’s questions on safety and their rights.
Sarah’s presentation explored women’s rights in relation to self-defence and safety schemes that exist in Leeds, including Operation Nightsafe, Ask for Ani, and Operation Capital, which is an increased police presence that takes place every Friday night in Leeds. The presentation also included some suggestions of what women can do to be safe, which while useful and worth considering, can reinforce notions that women should change their behaviours to avoid harm. As discussed in the meeting, our campaign work stresses that the responsibility for women’s lack of safety lies with those who commit harm and women should be able to live free from that harm without needing to alter the choices they make.
The conversations between Sarah and our hub members were engaging and informative. They included discussions on the need for improved police training, free night bus schemes for students, emergency charger ports, and education for young men. We were pleased to see so many women actively engaged in this topic and look forward to continued discussions on how Leeds can become a safer city for us all.
If you missed the call and would like to catch up, we will be uploading the Zoom link to this blog post very soon so please keep an eye out for that.
In the meantime, if you would like to keep updated on our campaign “Switch On To Women’s Safety – This Has to Involve Us All”, please visit our website here.