Most women in east London feel unsafe, survey finds

A drawing in memory of Sarah Everard

A drawing in memory of Sarah Everard, whose death has prompted questions about the safety of women - Credit: PA

Sixty-four per cent of women living in east London have said they often or usually feel unsafe, according to a survey done by this paper. It received nearly 800 answers.

In two out of the three questions asked, Barking and Dagenham had the highest number of answers. Respondents from Newham, Redbridge, Havering, Tower Hamlets and Barking and Dagenham voiced strong concerns about their safety, living and travelling around their respective boroughs

Seventy-seven per cent from Barking and Dagenham said they felt often or usually unsafe living in the borough, with 67pc saying so in Redbridge, 66pc in Newham and 53pc in Havering.

For travelling and walking around, 82pc in Barking and Dagenham said they often or usually felt unsafe, in Newham, 72pc agreed, 71pc in Havering and 69pc in Redbridge.  

The last question asked if female residents found it necessary to take measures to protect themselves while out and about. Havering had the highest number - 88pc - saying they felt it necessary to take measures to protect themselves while out.


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Women answering the survey said that some of the measures they'd take included always clutching keys, hairspray, pepper sprays, pretend phone calls and regular messages with family, walking fast and planning routes in advance.

Eighty-six per cent in Redbridge agreed, 85pc  in Barking and Dagenham and 79pc in Newham.

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Many of the women who took part in the survey said they had experienced assault or sexual assault.

In order to make women feel more comfortable and to stop violence on the streets, many suggested cultural changes such as education, an end to cat-calling culture as well as legislative change such as enforcing policing and harsher sentences.

One resident from Havering said: "They need to be aware what the impact of their presence has on women travelling alone, and think what they can do to lessen that fear."

Another, from Dagenham, said: "Men need to hold other men to account. We need funding for services that support women and teach self-defence, lobby for more effective criminal sanctions for violence against women."

In Newham, a woman said: "They need to acknowledge that if a woman is walking ahead of you, they should and try immediately slow down and give them space, because it [being too close] makes women feel intimidated and I don't think they realise."



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