Safer spaces for West Lothian women

West Lothian Council will consult with community groups to develop policies of ensuring women’s safety in public places.

Friday, 16th July 2021, 1:00 pm
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An initial report was presented to the Partnership and Resources PDSP following adoption of a joint motion from depute council leader Councillor Kirsteen Sullivan and SNP councillor Moira Shemilt.

Julie Whitelaw, head of corporate services, outlined the work done since that motion was agreed in May. In a report, she said: “The council will engage with Community Planning partners, the Violence against Women and Girls Committee and Women’s Aid in promoting the consultation and analysing the responses to the consultation.

"The council’s equality officer will support equality groups to engage in the consultation. The outcome of the consultation will be reported to the Panel.”

The report added: “Officers will conduct a review of good practice and examples of policy development across local authorities and will consider what policy interventions can be introduced to alleviate or prevent violence against women in public spaces.

"Officers will also consider the UN Women’s global initiative, Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces for Women and Girls.”

Any new policies introduced to promote safer spaces for women will rest on a wider consultation with community groups, including organisations like sports clubs and community councils.

The results of these will come back to the Panel for its October meeting.

Council leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick praised officers for their swift response.

“It’s good to see this come forward so quickly,” he said.