'I don't feel safe': Young women in York talk of fears after disappearance of Sarah Everard

Young women in York, the hometown of missing Sarah Everard, are calling for action to improve safety of women on the streets following her disappearance.

It has sparked a debate over the safety of women. A vigil called “Reclaim these streets” has been organised on Facebook and is due to take place at Clapham Common bandstand in south London at 6pm on Saturday.

Student at York university say they doesn't feel safe. They say it shouldn't just be down to women to protect themselves.

The group behind this latest campaign to keep women safe began in the 1970s in Yorkshire during the reign of serial killer Peter Sutcliffe.

One of the women who took part says there's been progress but not enough.

"We do not think we should have to put up with this women have a right to be angry, we still have the right to be angry, to empower ourselves by having the reclaim the night marches, by speaking out against violence and abuse.''

Sally Duffin, of the Women's Equality Party, says the conversation is often focused on women, and needs to shift to include men.

''Why do we need to miss out on society yet men are free to roam around and it is males who are perpetrators who are at the root of this. We do not think we should have to put up with this women have a right to be angry.''

In the commons International Women's Week was marked by a debate which highlighted male violence against women.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Darren Downs of Humberside Police said: 

“We understand that the tragic murder of Sarah Everard has resounded deeply with people both nationally and locally.  We also understand the desire for people to come together to express their feelings and wider concerns for the protection of women. To that end, we are working with the local organisers to consider how appropriate events can take place whilst adhering to current lockdown restrictions.  This includes for example, looking at alternative ways of people coming together to express their sorrow and worries.

“From a policing perspective our priority is at all times to keep people safe and we know that the vast majority of the public both understands and supports our endeavours to do this. We in turn thank them for their continued support of the restrictions which remain in place for the safety of everyone.

“Our stance will continue as it has done throughout the Covid pandemic in that we will take every opportunity to engage, explain and educate, where that is felt to be the appropriate course of action. As always, enforcement remains a last option, but it is one we will use if necessary should there be a risk to public health and safety.  It is important that the efforts of the public do not lose their momentum, even in times of high emotion, and we therefore reiterate our appeal for everyone to continue to  behave responsibly and in line with current restrictions.”

33-year-old Sarah, originally from York, disappeared last week in London while walking home from a friend’s flat in south London on Wednesday March 3.

Ms Everard's mother said her daughter's death "leaves a yawning chasm in our lives that cannot be filled" Credit: Met Police

On Wednesday evening, Metropolitan Police Commission Dame Cressida Dick confirmed police had discovered human remains in Ashford, Kent, in the search for Ms Everard.

A police officer has been arrested on suspicion of the murder of Sarah Everard has been treated in hospital for a head injury sustained in custody, the Metropolitan Police has confirmed.