National crime-prevention charity Neighbourhood Watch (OurWatch) has launched a new national Community Safety Charter enabling local organisations, groups, businesses and individuals to stand up against crimes such as antisocial behaviour, hate crime, intimidation, and harassment.
VANEL have just signed up to the Charter (takes 2 minutes) and made the Pledge to help make our open spaces safer. We’ve done it and we’d encourage all our member organisations to do so too. Read on for the thinking behind the charter and then more info at the end about how to sign up.
Over the past 12 months more women have reported feeling unsafe in parks or other open spaces after dark than in the previous year (84% vs 81%) disabled adults repeatedly report feeling less safe than non-disabled adults in all public spaces, and despite a 9% rise in police recorded hate crimes, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency reports 9 out of 10 hate crimes still go unreported.
A third (33%) of people believe antisocial behaviour has increased in the past three years, with half (50%) of people feel it most like to happen in their local town or city centre. More than half (57%) of those who have experienced or witnessed it did not report it to anyone.
For forty years Neighbourhood Watch has been a household name in community-based crime prevention. The charity recognises that by enabling their 90,000 volunteers to join forces with local businesses and organisations, whole communities can stand up against crimes in public spaces.
By signing up to the Community Safety Charter, people, businesses, and organisations pledge to do four actions: promote a culture that does not tolerate those harmful behaviours, enable others to take an active stance against them, encourage reporting, and support those affected by the crimes.
John Hayward-Cripps, CEO of Neighbourhood Watch Network, said, “With the cost-of-living crisis upon us, we believe we can expect to see an even greater rise in community-based crimes such as violence against women and girls, disability hate crime, antisocial behaviour, and harassment.”
John continues, “Our Community Safety Charter enables us all – schools, libraries, bus companies, faith groups, local shops and even your local postie – to play a key part in creating an environment in which crimes such as these in public spaces are not tolerated.”
Through the Community Safety Charter, Neighbourhood Watch provides a greater understanding of how to recognise and deal with community safety issues. Bystanders can safely intervene and support victims in accessing where to get help, how and who to report to. The Charter enables everyone to take a positive and proactive approach when witnessing or experiencing confrontation, hostility, or harassment.
Visit the information page about the Charter on the OurWatch website here: https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/charter
On that page is the registration form. Any individual, group, organisation or business can sign up there.
Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive an email welcome pack including a poster that you can print and display if appropriate with your pledge.
Copy of the pledge below.
Training materials will be shared every few months by OurWatch. The very first training module (via a .pdf document) is on Harassment. Sign up now to get these materials.