The Charter is part of the Council’s approach to improving the safety of women and girls in the city of Manchester. The toolkit provides practical steps for us to work together to make Manchester safer for women at night. Everyone should feel empowered to play their part in creating positive change. Whatever your size, shape or area of work, we encourage you to pledge your commitment to women’s safety.
This toolkit is full of ideas, prompts and signposts. These are practical steps towards change. Some will take time, but there will be others you can do today. Some may require additional resources, but many will not.
Whatever steps your organisation can take will make a difference. Whether you’re already proud of the great work you’ve been doing for women’s safety, or want to know how to start, read on to find out how you can play your part.
What does it mean to sign the Charter?
The Women’s Night-time Safety Charter is a voluntary pledge to show you take women’s safety seriously. By signing the Charter, you show your acknowledgement of the issue and that you’re ready to be proactive in improving women’s safety and experience. We’re building a strong network dedicated to making a positive change to women’s experiences across Manchester at night. Whatever your organisation does for Manchester at night, there will be something you can do to better support women’s safety.
Making a change
Of course, we want sexual harassment, assault, and other forms of gender-based violence to stop. However, we can all commit to do more, which is what the Women’s Night-time Safety Charter is all about. Businesses, organisations, and services can’t do everything, but we can all do more.
The four Rs
- Responsibility - Who is responsible for unacceptable behaviour? The person doing it! It’s simple, and yet we know victim-blaming culture still exists in too many places of work and play. Organisations that bring people together at night have a duty of care to ensure their spaces do not enable harassment, assault or violence towards women or anyone else. It’s also important to recognise that taking responsibility is not the same as taking liability.
- Report - A total end to these criminal behaviours is a long way off, and you can’t prevent every single incident. When one happens, reporting it should be a simple, discreet and a hassle-free choice. The process for what will happen next should be clear, with a range of options for how an incident can be dealt with.
- Respond - Choosing to speak up should be encouraged through a culture that promotes trust and support for those who do come forward. Staff should feel confident and clear on how to respond to these reports in a consistent, professional, and empathetic way that prioritises safety and care, not personal judgement.
- Redesign - We know that alongside experiences of harassment or assault, the perception of ‘safety’ affects women’s choices when avoiding certain areas, services and businesses. Nightlife spaces should be designed to be welcoming and to minimise the risk of enabling ‘opportunistic’ perpetrators, who may use a venue's lack of clear visibility to their advantage.
A checklist for action
This toolkit provides ideas, inspiration, information, and resources to help your organisation meet the seven commitments. It will advise you on possible courses of action, some changes you may need to make and how to upskill your staff.
- Appoint a ‘Champion’ for women’s safety within your organisation.
- Make all team members aware of who your Champion is so that they can go to them for advice and resources on women’s safety.
- Partner with local GMP Neighbourhood Teams to network and share best practice.
- Communicate to your staff and customers that your organisation takes women’s safety seriously and that you encourage people to come forward to report incidents.
- Make use of your internal and external channels to communicate your zero tolerance policy on unacceptable behaviour and clear options for how and who to report this to.
- Create an environment where staff feel comfortable and confident to report sexual harassment or assault they have experienced at work.
- Provide signposting to local services and other HR and employee-assistance resources if they need further information.
- Have a clear written policy and procedure on how your organisation will respond to reports of harassment or assault and what people can expect from any processes.
- Make sure that anyone who experiences sexual harassment or assault in a space you are responsible for is able to report it in a simple, straightforward way.
- Offer a range of reporting methods, e.g. in person, email, telephone, or feedback form.
- Consider how accessible these methods are and how you can make sure people trust them.
- Ensure your staff believe and support anyone who comes forward to report something that makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Make sure your management supports staff by encouraging belief. Provide specialised training for your staff on sexual harassment and assault, with a focus on how to respond and intervene if incidents take place.
- Ensure all reported incidents of sexual harassment or assault are recorded in compliance with data and confidentiality guidelines.
- Check that all CCTV and lighting is functioning correctly.
- Assess your provision of accessible and gender-neutral bathrooms.
- Commission an access audit of your buildings and spaces, and publish the findings online and in a printed form.
- Commission a safety audit of your buildings and spaces, and publish the findings online and in a printed form.