Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon, set out a statement of intent at Cabinet last night, affirming the council’s commitment to tackling violence against women and girls in the borough.
This commitment follows a recent community reassurance meeting in which attendees shared personal experiences of harassment and violence in Croydon with Mayor Perry alongside other panellists from the police and council. The meeting was led by Donna Murray Turner, Chair of the Safer Neighbourhood Board.
A recent 2021 survey by the Safer Croydon Partnership, which includes the council, found that half of women and girls felt unsafe where they lived. Many of these respondents did not feel safe while travelling or waiting for public transport, in parks, shopping centres and high streets, as well as in pubs, bars, and clubs.
In the statement of intent, Mayor Perry has set out how the council will work with the police and community partners to tackle the factors behind this and make women and girls feel safer in the borough.
This includes building on invaluable ongoing work by the council’s Family Justice Service, which works closely with both victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.
Domestic violence has been on the rise nationally, particularly during the pandemic, with Croydon recording the highest levels across London. Tackling domestic violence was also recognised earlier this year as a key pillar of the Croydon Community Safety Strategy.
Mayor Perry has committed to building on the council’s existing community safety strategy with a clear three-year plan to tackle wider violence against women.
The council will continue to work with local agencies to develop its plan, closely involving residents and all of Croydon’s diverse communities in finding and delivering solutions to violence against women and girls.
Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon, said:
Women and girls in Croydon have the right to feel safe going about their everyday lives. The council can, and will, play a leading role in creating this environment and our statement of intent clearly signals that there is no room for violence or harassment in our borough.
We are determined to keep working with the police and local partners, but also closely involve our communities, as we deliver solutions to keep women and girls safe. We are also aware of the need for wider cultural change within our society and are firmly committed to continue challenging the perpetrators of violence, tackling problematic mindsets and behaviour wherever we encounter them.”
Chief Superintendent Dave Stringer, South Area BCU Commander, Metropolitan Police, said:
Women should feel safe in Croydon, and we are determined to play an active role in tackling violence against women and girls across the borough – whether in public spaces or domestic settings. We are committed to listening and working with our communities and partners to tackle these issues, but also to ensure we provide a service that meets the needs of all victims of violence or harassment.”
Donna Murray Turner, Chair of the Safer Neighbourhood Board, said:
Women and girls across Croydon are entitled to feel safe and have the right to seek support if they don’t. As a borough we must do more to listen to the voices of women and girls when they tell us that they do not feel safe walking in Croydon. We must continue to work together as a partnership, alongside community groups and organisations from the voluntary sector who advocate on behalf of and support women and girls in Croydon. Domestic abuse very often underpins serious youth violence, so this issue is not one to be taken lightly in our borough.”