Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office in partnership with Middlesbrough Council will share in £23.5 million-worth of funding to help women and girls feel safer on the streets.
The OPCC and Middlesbrough Council have worked with local providers to develop the successful Middlesbrough Safer Streets bid.
They will receive £381,771 in Government funding for a range of initiatives which will be primarily focused on the town’s Newport and Central wards.
The Middlesbrough Safer Streets partnership will be led by the OPCC and Middlesbrough Council. It will include Teesside University, local sexual violence charity Arch, domestic abuse charity My Sister’s Place, Crimestoppers and Stronger Communities.
It will develop preventative work and improve provision in an attempt to address the issue of violence against women and girls (VAWG.) The successful bid includes:
- Improved CCTV and lighting in key locations
- Campaigns by Crimestoppers to educate the public and help them to challenge harassment
- A dedicated Independent Domestic Violence Advocate (IDVA) to work with victims of stalking and harassment in Middlesbrough.
- Work around student safety and engagement organised by Teesside University to keep female students safe
- Purchase and distribution of personal safety apps and alarms as well as mobiles phones to help female residents feel safer
- A pilot sexual violence prevention and education programme with children and young people in schools and youth projects
- Roll-out of a VAWG prevention initiative which will see employers and local organisations trained as VAWG ambassadors via the ASK ME scheme
- Re-launch of the Safe Place scheme, increasing the safe place network across town
- Raising awareness of violence against women and girls (VAWG) via leaflets and promotional literature
- Appointment of a workplace champion to reach out to businesses and ensure they are alert to violence against women and girls
- Employment of a dedicated Victim Care Advice Officer for the Newport/ Central areas of Middlesbrough
PCC for Cleveland Steve Turner said: “Prior to submitting this bid, we carried out an online survey into the safety of women and girls across Cleveland.
“The survey revealed that Cleveland’s town centres posed a massive threat to women’s feelings of safety after dark.
“More than 81 per cent of females surveyed felt unsafe across the Cleveland Force area.
“Almost 48 per cent of respondents said they felt “very unsafe” with a further 33.6 per cent feeling “fairly unsafe” in the region’s town centres at night.
“This is an appalling figure and highlights not just the scale of the problem of violence against women and girls but also the pressing need to address women’s needs and concerns urgently.
“We hope this funding can help us turn a corner and create the culture change which will lead to women and girls feeling safer in all aspects of their lives.”
Claire Moore, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Lead, led development of the bid on behalf of Middlesbrough Council.
She said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this funding. The bid took into account local need and the views of victims and survivors, local residents, specialist providers and organisations/employers in the area.
“Preventing violence against women and girls is a key priority in Middlesbrough and recent tragic events have made that work more urgent than ever.
“This funding will allow us to focus on increasing opportunities for prevention work and improving the protection and support available to victims and survivors.”
The third round of Safer Streets fund was launched by the Government in March this year following the kidnap, rape and murder of 33-year-old marketing executive Sarah Everard.
This is the third time in just over a year that the OPCC has been awarded funding as part of the Safer Streets programme, bringing £1.78m into the Cleveland area for crime prevention measures.
The first round of funding saw cash spent in Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland on a range of crime-busting measures in theft hot spots.
The second batch of funding Safer Streets is now being used to secure areas in and around Stockton town centre.