Senior Lancashire women give messages of reassurance in the wake of the Sarah Everard case
Women in senior positions in organisations across the county have spoken out to give messages of solidarity and reassurance in the wake of a murder case which has shocked the nation.
Many women in the county have been left concerned for their welfare after young London woman Sarah Everard was found dead in Kent.
Detective Chief Superintendent Sue Clarke, head of Lancashire Violence Reduction Network, said: " Women should feel safe to walk the streets day or night free from the fear of harassment, threats and violence.
"Incidents like the Sarah Everard case are thankfully relatively rare but we recognise that it may have caused concern among some in our communities and we would reassure people that Lancashire Constabulary remains committed to keeping people safe and feeling safe and when needed, we can be trusted to consistently deliver a competent and compassionate service 24/7.
" We take all reports of crime seriously and if anyone feels they have been a victim they should contact us confident in the knowledge we are committed to supporting victims and providing the best possible service at all times.
"Lancashire Police has VRU funding and works with partners to create safer communities by tackling the root causes of violence. This includes work in schools and colleges."
She encouraged victims to call police on 101, report online at our website Home - Lancashire Constabulary - Report Online or to contact Lancashire Victim Services, but stressed to always call 999 in an emergency.
Further information and advice on staying safe is available on Lancashire Constabulary's website -- Staying safe when out and about.
Students have also been reassured about safety measures across Preston.
Janet Maiden, Safety and Security Services Manager at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), said: “The safety of our community is paramount, and we have a wide range of measures in place to ensure everyone feels secure across our three campuses.
"We have a dedicated security team patrolling 24/7 and our well-lit campuses are covered by extensive CCTV systems. These cameras are not only monitored by trained operators but allow any staff or students to request a CCTV escort. We know this service is reassuring to female students walking through campus late at night or female staff walking back to their car when it’s dark and quiet.
“To ensure our students are not walking home alone at night, we offer free transport to PR1 and PR2 postcodes to those who are working late in the library; we have a take me home scheme allowing students without money to get home safely and pay for their taxi fare the following day; and we advertise preferred walking routes in and around campus.
"In addition, we use the Safezone app, which allows any student or staff to immediately contact our security team; or local emergency services when off campus. The app pinpoints the precise geographical location and ensures help is sent swiftly to the correct location.”
Rachel Horman, chair of Paladin, the national stalking advocacy service, said the case of Sarah Everard had highlighted how women 'brush off' unacceptable incidents every day, from sexual harassment, and domestic abuse to inappropriate comments.
She added: "I think women are scared. I think it has affected a lot of women indirectly and highlighted the everyday abuse, it's not just about the amount of women murdered, it's about highlighting other issues that we are just conditioned to think: "It happens let's get on with it."
"Women being flashed at, groped on the train, comments made - it happens every single day.
" Women have the thin end of the wedge in terms of abuse."
Asked why she thought the Sarah Everard case had had such a widespread impact, she added: " This particular one seems to have really hit a chord with the public.
"People often have preconceptions about victims of certain crimes, and it's common to see things reported that in a way blames women for a crime such as ' she left a club, she was drunk' - but there's none of that here.
"It appears this was a middle class woman snatched from the streets and murdered and I think it's scared a lot of women and made them realise it could have happened to them.
"I think it's also due to the context of everything else going on, it's in people's psyche. Domestic violence is in the press every day, we know every three days a woman is murdered by their partner and that it has gone up during the pandemic."
On Monday, the House of Lords approved an amendment to the much anticipated Domestic Violence bill to make provisions for a ' stalker's registry' - a register of serial perpetrators of stalking and domestic abuse - a move previously refused by the Government.
Peers made a number of amendments to the bill that tackle violence against women and it will now return to the Commons to be considered by MPs.
If the Government also agrees the move, it would means that perpetrators could have conditions imposed on them to protect others, and like people on the Sex Offender's Register they would be subject to monitoring by the authorities - they would not necessarily need to be convicted to be on the list.
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