Home Office funding to help women and girls feel safer in Greater Manchester

It follows the launch of Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s (GMCA) Gender-Based Violence Strategy last month, which outlines how GMCA and its partners will tackle the many forms of gender-based violence through a whole-system approach over the next 10 years.

An aerial shot of Greater Manchester (Pic from Greater Manchester Combined Authority)

Greater Manchester has secured £549,744 from the Home Office to launch a series of schemes aimed at helping women and girls feel safer when out and about in the city-region.

The strategy was shaped following extensive consultation and engagement with individuals, professionals, community groups and charities including those that support victims.

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During the consultation, street harassment and harassment on and around public transport were some of the most frequently mentioned issues raised by women and girls who said they wanted to feel safer and know who to contact if they did feel unsafe.

The ‘Safer Streets’ fund, a Home Office fund originally launched in 2020, allows Police and Crime Commissioners and local authorities to apply for funding for crime prevention plans.

Greater Manchester’s successful partnership bid, submitted by GMCA, Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), and Oldham Council, will be used to deploy and test several interventions on the tram network and at key stops to respond to the issues raised by women and girls. If proved successful, the schemes could be rolled out more widely, including beyond transport.

Deputy Mayor for Policing, Crime, Criminal Justice and Fire, Bev Hughes, said: “The Safer Streets funding will enable us to implement several interventions to address the issues of street harassment and feelings of being unsafe on public transport that were frequently raised by women and girls during our Gender-Based Strategy public consultation and engagement process.

“The Safer Streets fund pilot schemes are just the first steps in our 10-year journey to enhance the safety of women and girls, while preventing gender-based violence from happening in the first place and challenging the attitudes and inequalities that enable it.”

The funding will cover pilot interventions including:

  • Working with women and girls to understand what training and campaigns they would like to see and developing a bespoke package to deliver to boys and men.
  • The presence of trusted adults and trained staff to increase security to prevent serious incidents, as well as test more informal approaches to educate and engage people and increase safety and reporting.
  • Integration and upgrades to the CCTV system in key locations so that images can be instantly shared between TfGM and Council systems, increasing facial recognition and coverage, and better enabling tracking of routes to car parks.
  • 570 staff – including Customer Service Representatives, TravelSafe officers and tram drivers – will be trained to spot and appropriately respond to incidents and to encourage increased reporting.

These schemes will be trialled, and their success measured, with the intention of sustaining and expanding successful interventions across Greater Manchester.

TfGM’s TravelSafe Manager, Kate Green, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to secure the funding to introduce a range of measures that will further support the work we are doing with the police, operators and other partners to keep our networks as safe as possible.”

You can find out more about the Gender-Based Violence Strategy here