Warwick and Leamington MP to launch campaign to improve women’s safety in Warwickshire after survey shows 'alarming' results

Matt Western will be lobbying for male violence education lessons to take place in schools across the county

An educational campaign that addresses male violence has been called for by respondents to Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western' s survey about women’s safety.

The survey, which was launched by Mr Western in November, invited women, vulnerable people, and members of the LGBT community to share their thoughts on tackling male violence in Warwickshire and received 266 responses.

Strikingly, 69 per cent of respondents said they carried keys in their hands when walking home alone at night in case they needed to be used to defend themselves.

Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western.
Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western.
Warwick and Leamington MP Matt Western.

Most respondents voted that violence in the street and sexual crimes were the most worrying issues across the county.

An educational campaign in schools emerged as the most popular way to improve women's safety.

Boosting the county’s rape conviction rates, treating violence against women and misogyny as hate crimes and turning on streetlights also proved to be top priorities.

Nearly half said they send their live location to family or friends while travelling home and more than two thirds said they call someone while walking.

Almost 80 per cent said they cross the road when another man is walking towards them and more than half simply pay for a taxi to avoid travelling by foot.

Many Leamington respondents said they would avoid going out alone at night altogether and others said the town centre at weekends, parks, dark roads, canals and alleys are particularly intimidating.

Mr Western said: “It was great to receive so many respondents and it is a mark of how engaged the public is about this issue.

“In the end, there were clearly more popular choices when it came to issues and potential solutions.

“I will now be holding a women’s safety summit on February 2 involving experts in tackling sexual violence, advocates for marginalised communities, universities and police.

“At this early stage, we have decided to lobby for male violence education to take place in Warwickshire schools – while we will also look at simple measures to improve people’s security such as switching on streetlights at night in particular places.

“We will be consulting all relevant authorities and experts to decide the best course of action.”

Mr Western said the detailed survey results will be shared with regional authorities and help them gauge the public’s perceptions of where the problems lie.

He had modelled the survey on the anonymous anti-rape forum Everyone’s Invited, which provides a safe space for people to share experiences.

More than 5,000 people signed Labour campaigner Chloe Fojtik’s petition calling for more streetlights in the county to be turned on at night – and she says she received an outpouring of support and heard many harrowing stories of what has happened to women on the county’s streets.