Durham County Council has received £100,000 from the Government’s Safety of Women at Night (SWAN) fund to increase the safety of women in the City of Durham. The money will be used to deliver vulnerability awareness training. The recipients will include hoteliers, managers of takeaways and off licences, staff at transport hubs, designated premises supervisors and door security staff.
A night safety hub will also be created. This will allow those who are vulnerable to seek advice or first aid, engage with support services, report incidents, wait for a family or friend, or access information about safer transport.
In addition, all County Council-registered taxi and private hire drivers will receive an online training package. When completed, they will be provided with an accreditation identification badge, in an attempt to make female passengers feel safer when travelling.
The application was put forward by Durham City Safety Group (DCSG). Alan Patrickson, chair of the DSCG said: “Durham is a very safe and welcoming place but we are not complacent. There is inevitably a small number of people who engage in crime and anti-social behaviour and by recognising this and preparing for it we can help to make our city as safe as possible.”
Joy Allen, Durham Police and Crime Commissioner shared Mr. Patrickson’s sentiment, saying: “We wanted women and girls in our community to have their say on their personal experiences and we wanted to know what more they think the police and our partners could do, which is why the proposals outlined in the bid were informed by the respondents to the force’s Call It Out survey.”
The allocation of funds coincides with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women Day, also known as White Ribbon Day. This year the event is took place on Thursday 25th November and is the commencement of a 16- day campaign. Durham County Council, the University and the Students’ Union all support the international day of action.
All three organisations asked people to join in by signing the White Ribbon Day pledge, promising to never commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women. To help raise awareness and encourage signing of the White Ribbon Pledge, there was a joint event, hosted by the three organisations on Thursday, at the Students’ Union building. The Safer Durham Partnership supported this event.