Sarah Everard: What are Midlands women doing to feel safer on the streets?

Sarah Everard

This week marks six months since the tragic death of Sarah Everard, whose murder sparked a national outcry against the rates of violence against women in this country.

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner says keeping women safe is a priority, and in July an updated strategy on tackling violence against women and girls was published by the government.

But there are many who believe significant change is still desperately needed to tackle the insidious and complex problem.

Because of this, some women have taken it upon themselves to feel safer on the streets.

This is a self-defence class in Lincolnshire that teaches women basic moves that could help if they were to be attacked.

The non-violent protest group Reclaim These Streets say everyone wins if women feel safer.

A member of the self-defence group said: "We're hearing a lot more about more attacks and things it's making us more aware of things that go on and you just may want to be ready for anything that could happen."

Self-defence classes like these may work to make women feel safer, but there are many that would argue it's actually fighting a symptom and not the cause of violence against women.

Crowd gathers to pay respects to Sarah Everard

Last month, the government published its updated tackling violence against women and girls strategy.

In it, Minister for Safeguarding, Victoria Atkins says she wants women and girls to look forwards, not over their shoulder.

She said: "Sadly, these attitudes are centuries in the making. And that's why the challenge of spreading education of helping people understand when they're making women feel unsafe or girls feel unsafe.

"That's why it's such a job of work but education is a critical part of this, and we want boys that are going to school at the moment to grow up into adults who understand what healthy and respectful relationships look like."

  • Amrit Birdi reports.