Steps are being put in place to improve the safety of women in Manchester’s night-time economy.
From September 2022 businesses who operate at night-time in Manchester will be encouraged to sign and pledge support to the Women’s Night-time Safety Charter. This charter, implemented by Manchester City Council, will set out how organisations can prioritise the safety of women – both employees and customers – in Manchester at night.
Improving safety for women in Manchester was one of the key priorities for the Leader of Manchester City Council, Cllr Bev Craig when she was elected to the position in 2021.
The charter will be launched this week in Manchester City Centre by Cllr Craig who will also be joined by stakeholders in this project, as well as London’s Night Czar Amy Lamé.
Businesses who sign up will be asked to pledge their support for these seven commitments:
1. Appoint a Champion - Nominate a champion in your organisation who actively promotes women’s night safety.
2. Communicate - Demonstrate to staff and customers that your organisation takes women’s safety at night seriously, for example through a communications campaign.
3. Support your staff - Remind customers and staff that Manchester is safe, but tell them what to do if they experience harassment when working, going out or travelling.
4. Support the public - Encourage reporting by victims and bystanders as part of your communications campaign.
5. Training and responding - Train staff to ensure that all women who report are believed.
6. Training and recording - Train staff to ensure that all reports are recorded and responded to.
7. Design - Designing space for safety
These steps are intended to help businesses identify and prevent the harassment of women as well as bring about a cultural change by putting the safety and wellbeing of female staff and customers at the heart of the night-time economy.
So far, more than 40 businesses have come forward to support the implementation of this charter and have pledged their support.
Councillor Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council said: "When I became the Leader of the city of Manchester, I pledged to put the women and girls at the heart of what we do to make Manchester a fairer and safer city. Over the last nine months there has been additional investment in tackling misogyny and violence, and this is a great example of the practical steps we are taking.
“It is incredibly important that we do everything in our power to ensure that women can feel safe in Manchester. We have a well-justified reputation for an outstanding night-time economy, but that accolade must be earned.
“The Night-time Safety charter is a call to collective action for any organisation who works, resides, designs or delivers services in our city. So, join us and make a Manchester-wide push to help make Manchester the safest, most welcoming city in the country.”
Jessica Toomey, Director of the Frog and Bucket said: “Manchester has always had a very welcoming and vibrant night life. It’s a warm and friendly place, and the women have generally always considered it safe.
“Even when Winston Churchill as a young local MP tried to ban the barmaid over 100 years ago the women of Manchester fought back to remain an integral part of our night-time economy.
“Both my grandmothers ran venues in Manchester and I am proud to continue that legacy. In this city we have some of the best and most conscientious operators in the country, but we can always strive to do more. It is great that we can unify that message by all getting on board with the charter and training on offer.”
A PureGym spokesperson said: “We are pleased to pledge our support for the Women’s Night-time Safety Charter in Manchester. It is crucial that we do everything we can to help our members and staff to feel safe, especially given that a number of our gyms open 24/7. We already have extensive safety measures in place through our TrainSafe programme, which is our commitment to providing a safe and welcoming place for everybody at PureGym. A joined-up approach is always going to be more effective and we are therefore proud to play our part in helping women feel safer at night by joining this charter.”
London’s Night Czar, Amy Lamé, said: “It is vital that anyone working, travelling, or socialising after dark feels confident and empowered to do so, that’s why I am delighted that Manchester is following London’s lead by implementing the Women’s Night Safety Charter. The charter signifies a real commitment to improving the safety and wellbeing of women at night, and I would encourage businesses and organisations across the city to pledge their support.”