Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry has teamed up with a first aid charity to launch a late-night safety refuge in Nottingham for women who need help or medical assistance on a night out.
Commissioner Henry, working in conjunction with local authority partners and Nottinghamshire Police, has secured £250,000 from the Home Office’s Safety of Women at Night (SWaN) Fund to deliver practical solutions to reduce the vulnerability of women visiting the City’s night-time economy.
Part of the funding is being invested in a new ‘safe space’ refuge area in Nottingham city centre where female revellers can receive medical help and support if they find themselves in danger or at risk.
It is one of a host of ‘safe spaces’ being launched nationally by the first aid charity, which has accelerated the roll-out of the scheme following increased reports nationally of suspected spiking incidents.
The ‘safe space’ will operate on two weekends every month in time for the busy festive season and be heavily signposted and publicised to ensure women know how to access it.
The location will be determined by need and St John’s Ambulance volunteers will remain in direct contact with venues and Nottinghamshire Police during the evenings of operation, ready to offer support if needed.
They will also support existing Street Pastor provision by delivering on the spot medical assistance and pastoral care when called upon.
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “Nottingham is a wonderful city and we want to keep it that way for everyone. That’s just one reason why I am delighted to have secured SWaN funding on top of the £1.1m already obtained through the Safer Streets Fund.
“We know where the busy spots are in the City and this scheme will provide a physical refuge should people find themselves in distress or in a pickle. If people need some advice or support there will be trusted, visible figures to talk to.
“Women deserve to enjoy all Nottingham has to offer without fear or apprehension. We hope our new ‘Safe Space’ gives people greater confidence, reassuring them that trained professionals are ready to step in when they need help most.”
The main aims of the SWaN fund are to reduce incidents of violence against women and girls in public spaces at night, reduce the fear of violence and improve feelings of safety and build evidence on what works in improving women’s safety in public spaces.
Jade Quittenton, a Community Operations Manager at St John Ambulance, said: “Our night-time economy programme offers safe treatment spaces where St John Ambulance teams provide medical help for revellers seeking help during a night out, and we’re seeing greater demand for our services as more suspected spiking incidents are reported.
“Having highly-trained first aiders and healthcare professionals on hand, close to pubs and clubs, means treatment is available when people need it most.
“Concerns around the rise in spikings is one of the reasons we’re accelerating the rollout of our support for safer nights out across England.
“Our volunteers can care for anyone who’s worse for wear, sick or injured, and take people to the Emergency Department if they need that, but we also relieve support on health services by preventing unnecessary hospital admissions.
“More than that, we can signpost to other services, provide some much-needed TLC and – importantly – provide safe spaces for anyone vulnerable to wait for transportation home rather than leaving them waiting on dark streets.”