Rugby council installs solar lights in two parks to help people feel safer

The lighting was set to be installed as part of the council's Park Connecter plan, but it is also believed that the lights will help women and girls to feel safer at night

Photo courtesy of Rugby Borough Council.

Solar lighting is to be installed in two Rugby parks to deter crime and make women and girls feel safer after a survey revealed the majority of Rugby's women and girls have experienced street harassment in the last year.

In March, following the murder of Sarah Everard, women and girls across the country began sharing their own stories of harassment and abuse in the streets.

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At the time, the Advertiser launched its own appeal for women and girls to come forward with their own accounts of street harassment.

Many women and girls were brave enough to share their accounts.

Rugby council then conducted its own survey, relying on quantitative data and thus meaning its results were far better able to determine the scale of the problem.

The survey, aimed at women and girls, found that 61 per cent of respondents had experienced unwanted attention or harassment in a public place in Rugby, such as a street, park or footpath.

75 per cent of respondents were on their own at the time.

Incidents took place at all times of the day and night, with the most incidents reported between 2 and 4pm, between 6 and 8pm, and between 12noon and 2pm.

Feeling unsafe in the dark has been a key complaint of women and girls as the issue of street harassment came to the forefront of public debate.

Rugby council was set to install solar lights in some parks anyway, but it has also looked at the results of the survey to determine which places they might help the most.

And today, November 25, Rugby council has installed solar lighting in Caldecott Park and in Rokeby Open Space, with lighting planned for other parks in locations where women and girls have reported feeling unsafe in the dark.

Cllr Derek Poole, Deputy Leader of Rugby Borough Council and portfolio holder for Regulation and Safety, said: “Violence and harassment of women and girls is not inevitable and can be eliminated if men change their behaviour.

"Regrettably, we know that there will always be some men and boys who will not get the message, so we also need to believe survivors and make our streets places where women and girls feel safer.

“We hope that this new solar lighting will help them to feel safer and give women and girls more choice about where they go and when.”

A council spokesperson also explained that the solar lights have “bat hats” to protect bats from the harmful effects of lighting.