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Southwark Labour delivers manifesto pledge by launching Women’s Safety Charter


17 December 2014
Women
Southwark Labour has delivered a key manifesto pledge by launching a new Women’s Safety Charter to help protect women against harassment in bars and clubs in the borough.

Over 30 venues in Southwark have signed up to the council’s Women’s Safety Charter, pledging to take action against harassment of women in their venues, including the Ministry of Sound, The Coronet and Lerryn’s in Peckham. The scheme has been designed in partnership with local venues and with Hollaback!, an international movement set up to tackle street harassment.

To mark the launch, the council hosted a panel discussion about ‘banter or harassment’ at the Keyworth Centre, London South Bank University. The event included a panel discussion and was officially opened by Harriet Harman MP, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, and Cllr Radha Burgess, Southwark’s deputy cabinet member for women’s safety who has led the delivery of the charter.

Radha Burgess, Southwark’s deputy cabinet member for women’s safety, said: 

“Every woman you speak to has been on the receiving end of unwanted advances in bars, clubs, Christmas parties, etc. Whether it’s verbal intimidation or bum-pinching, this stuff is often dismissed as ‘banter’, but actually its harassment and it’s not acceptable. We’re empowering women to speak up against incidents that make them feel uncomfortable, intimidated or threatened.” 

Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council said:  

“Everyone deserves to enjoy a night out without the fear of harassment or intimidation. Typically, harassment is seen as 'normal' and goes without being reported or even spoken about - we believe it is time this trend was reversed. This new charter is our commitment to promoting a culture where women's safety is taken seriously - we want to show harassment to women and girls isn’t acceptable.”

Women’s Safety Charter Principles

Over 30 venues in Southwark have signed up to the Women’s Safety Charter and pledged to:
  1. Prominently display high visibility posters in the venue which discourage
    harassment and encourage reporting
  2. Take every report of harassment and sexual intimidation seriously and
    take appropriate action
  3. Take active steps to support persons who report harassment or sexual
    intimidation which might take place in their premises
  4. Train all front of house staff to address women’s safety and harassment
  5. Take active steps to ensure women leave the venue safely.


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