Hackney people called on to help 'stamp out' violence against women and girls

Sabina Nessa

Sabina Nessa was found dead near the OneSpace community centre in Cator Park on Saturday, September 18. - Credit: Met Police

A Hackney event is inviting local people online to discuss and suggest ways to improve the safety of women and girls in public spaces on Thursday (September 30). 

It has been six months since Sarah Everard was abducted from a busy south London street and murdered, and nearly two weeks since 28-year-old Sabina Nessa's body was found a few minutes walk from her home in Kidbrooke on September 18. 

Public anger has followed along with debates about the prevalence of violence against women and the dangers many face while travelling in London

Data from a 2021 YouGov survey of over 1,000 women, commissioned by UN Women UK, revealed that 97 per cent of young women surveyed had experienced harassment behaviors.

And, more than 70pc of women in the UK said they had experienced sexual harassment in public – whether on the street, public transport, schools, workplaces or parks. 

Sarah Everard, who disappeared in Clapham on March 3.

On March 3, Sarah Everard disappeared as she was walking home to Brixton Hill from a friend's house near Clapham Common. Her remains were discovered in woodland near Ashford in Kent on March 10. - Credit: Metropolitan Police

Portfolio holder for community safety Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas said: “Nobody should have to experience sexual harassment or intimidation in Hackney public spaces or feel afraid of walking, cycling, or using our parks, regardless of their gender identity.

“But the sad reality is that too many women and girls in Hackney have experienced harassment in their daily lives.

"We’re determined to stamp out this abuse, and we want to hear the lived experiences of people in Hackney to help us tackle this scourge on our society."

Part of the council's strategy to tackle violence against women and girls, the event will give residents a chance to submit their ideas and questions to improve safety for women and girls in public spaces to a panel of experts, charities, police and council staff next week. 

Meanwhile, Olympic Park's London Legacy Development Corporation have launched a consultation to improve safety in the park following the murders of Everard and Nessa. 

The consultation can be accessed at https://saferspaceslldcmap.commonplace.is/.

The Safety of Women and Girls in Public Spaces event takes place at 12pm on September 30. Click to Register online or submit a question to the panel.

A Metropolitan Police officer, Wayne Couzens, pleaded guilty to Everard's kidnap, rape and murder earlier this year. 

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Koci Selamaj, aged 36, has been charged with the murder of Sabina Nessa.