• Organisations urged to join nearly 400 others that have signed up to the Mayor’s Women’s Night Safety Charter
  • Charter sets out seven-point pledge to help ensure women in the capital are safe at night
  • Moves come as hard-hit hospitality sector prepares to reopen for summer

Organisations across London are being urged to help ensure women stay safe across the capital at night by signing up to the Mayor’s Women’s Night Safety Charter

The safety of women and girls on London’s streets has been brought into sharp focus following the tragic death of Sarah Everard.

The Mayor Sadiq Khan is urging councils, businesses, venues and other organisations to support the charter as he sets out his bold vision for how a safe and thriving night-time reopening can lead the city’s economic and social recovery from the pandemic.

Almost 400 organisations have already signed up for the charter since it was introduced in 2018. It sets out guidance for venues, operators, charities, councils and businesses to improve safety at night for women – including better training of staff, encouraging the reporting of harassment and ensuring public spaces are safe.

Capital Arches McDonalds, the Ministry of Sound, Drinkaware, the O2, Portman Group, Lambeth Council, and Transport for London are among those who have already signed up to the charter and pledged to take action to help lower the risk of crime against women when they are working or enjoying a night out.

The Mayor today unveiled a series of measures to support the future of the capital’s life after 6pm and called on the Government to do more to help struggling night-time businesses and enable councils to improve high streets for all at night.

Before the pandemic, 1.6m people regularly worked between 6pm and 6am, with the capital’s economy at night growing faster than in the day and contributing billions to the UK economy. With the right support the night time sector can lead the city’s recovery and the Mayor has set out a series of policies to support London at night, including:

  • Women’s Night Safety Charter1 – the first-of-its-kind charter was developed to encourage councils, businesses, venues and other organisations to prioritise women’s safety at night. It comprises seven key pledges to improve women’s safety and perception of safety at night. This includes better training of staff, encouraging the reporting of harassment, and ensuring public spaces are safe. The charter is part of the Mayor’s Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy and London’s commitment to the UN Women Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces global initiative.
  • World-leading guidance for councils to develop a Night Time Strategy2 – clear guidance on how councils, communities and businesses can work together to break down barriers to create diverse and inclusive plans to revive their areas at night. This includes improving access to public spaces and making them more welcoming, making use of vacant premises for evening and night-time use, giving boroughs the tools to do this effectively and creating a forum to work together.
  • A Night Time Data Observatory3 – a range of research and data on London at night, including spend and footfall data down to high street level, to provide an essential evidence base to help boroughs make informed decisions on where to best focus their efforts.
  • The High Streets for All Challenge Fund4 – a £4m fund for projects which re-imagine our high streets and support the recovery of central town spaces. Every London borough is entitled to apply for funding and are encouraged to consider nightlife in their applications for the investment.
  • Night Time Enterprise Zone – a Night Time Enterprise Zone pilot in Walthamstow5 saw independent businesses and local retailers encouraged to extend their operational times and new evening enterprises were supported in a low-cost and flexible environment, providing an invaluable blueprint for boosting high street activity after 6pm.
  • Support for businesses – The Mayor’s £2.3m Culture at Risk Business Support Fund has helped support London’s more than 240 grassroots music and LGBTQ+ venues with dedicated advice and grants.6 Bakeries, music venues, pottery studios, historical walking tours and cafes were also among more than 420 small businesses which benefitted from the Mayor’s innovative Pay It Forward London scheme, which raised more than £1.5 million from over 20,000 crowdfunding contributions.7

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “We have all felt the outpouring of grief and anger from women following the tragic death of Sarah Everard, and the daily reality of male violence against women and girls. Things can and must change. I am committed to taking action to improve safety for women at day and night and that includes urging organisations across London to get behind the Women’s Night Safety Charter which will help venues and councils to take some simple, but important, steps to help women and girls feel safer on our capital’s streets after dark.

“As we emerge from the pandemic, our city’s life at night has a vital role to play in both our economic and social recovery. That’s why we have laid out some of the boldest and most innovative plans for life after 6pm in any global city to help revive London’s high streets and ensure they are safe, inclusive, rescue our world-class night-time industries and support our vital night workers.

“But without the right financial support from the Government, that recovery cannot be guaranteed and that’s why I’m asking ministers to join with us in supporting our night-time businesses so they are ready to welcome Londoners again as lockdown measures begin to ease.”

Amy Lamé, Night Czar, said:
 “We’re determined to make London the safest and most welcoming city in the world. That’s why it’s so important that as we look ahead to moving out of lockdown, organisations, businesses and venues sign up for the Mayor’s Women’s Night Safety Charter and help provide a supportive environment for all those working, travelling or enjoying our capital and help women know that nowhere is off limits to them.

“Of course, it is true that with non-essential shops forced to close during lockdown, too many shops, pubs, restaurants, leisure and hospitality venues have been forced to shut for good across our city.

“That’s why we are busy working and looking ahead now to moving out of lockdown, replacing restrictions and regulations with bold and innovative night plans to revive London high streets and promote activities that go beyond the night time economy and cover all aspect of town centres and other areas between 6pm and 6am.”

Claude Abi-Gerges, who owns and operates McDonald’s restaurants across central London said: “As a major business franchise operating across central London, we are committed to playing our part in making our communities safe for our residents, customers and our employees.”

“During lockdown we have trained our management team in Welfare and Vulnerability Engagement, making sure that our teams know how to spot people who may be vulnerable, how to provide the appropriate support, and how to report incidents correctly.”

“It was an important step for us to sign up to the Women’s Night Safety Charter with the number of 24hr restaurants we have in London’s West End. I want all my restaurants to be a safe space and I would encourage other businesses to sign up to the Women’s Night Safety Charter too.”

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