The digital billboards designed to keep women safer on Cardiff's streets

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A new campaign has launched aiming to keep young women safer whilst walking the streets of Cardiff at night.

From Tuesday, 35 digital billboards will light up the city centre and surrounding student areas, and will run for the duration of Fresher's Fortnight.

The screens will include a QR code, which links to a list of designated 'safe places' - such as local businesses - where those who feel scared or vulnerable can seek immediate help.

A recent report found that 80 per cent of women in the UK revealed that they had been sexually harassed in public.

The screens include a QR code which links to a list of designated 'safe places' in the city. Credit: Cowshed

The initiative, by business development service FOR Cardiff, was inspired by a similar scheme in Paris earlier this year called the HandsAway campaign.

It has been welcomed by students across the city - including Jemma Shand, a final year physiotherapy student at Cardiff University.

Jemma, 22, said: "During 2019 Freshers' Fortnight, one of my friends was walking alone on the way back to her halls of residence and got followed by a stranger.

"At one point, the person caught up with her and touched her inappropriately.

"I hated walking by myself in Freshers' Fortnight, and I still don't like it two years on even though that person was arrested.

"Knowing that these billboards are there shining light on dark streets and have QR codes to find safe places makes me more confident when walking in Cardiff at night."

The Angel Hotel in Cardiff is a member of the Safe Places scheme.

Businesses who have signed up to be a safe place have been given support and training to ensure staff members can effectively handle difficult situations.

The Angel Hotel in Cardiff was one of the first to announce it would be opening its doors to anyone requiring immediate refuge in the city centre after the murder of Sarah Everard in March 2021. It is now an official member of the scheme.

General manager Richard Smith said: "With the reopening of indoor hospitality, we have seen a lot of people come through our doors seeking refuge, with many being young women who feel at risk.

"Whether someone has run out of money and needs a safe ride home, or they're feeling vulnerable or unsafe in any way, we're here to help."

The murder of Sarah Everard brought the issue of women's safety back into the spotlight. Credit: PA Images

Adrian Field, executive director of FOR Cardiff, said: "Our ambition is to make Cardiff a city where women feel confident and welcome when walking through the capital, night or day.

"With Cardiff's businesses registering to be a safe place, we can do our bit to create a safer and  more welcoming environment for all who live, work or visit Cardiff city centre.

"We believe that Wales and its capital city has a responsibility to lead the way in creating a safer environment for women in the city."

To download the Safe Places app or to find out more about how a Cardiff-based business can register to be a safe place, click here.