By Saksha Menezes |
Walking home before 10pm from a friend’s house, Sarah Everard went missing on 3 March. After police searches and social media callouts, her body was found in some woodlands in Ashford, Kent. The suspect is a Metropolitan Police constable and firearms officer, serving in the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection branch.
Unsurprisingly, this case has struck a chord for women across the country. She was wearing bright clothes, walking along a busy well-lit street and on the phone to her boyfriend—all the things that women are told to do to avoid something happening—and she was still killed.
This case has prompted an enquiry into sexual violence against women in the country, with UN Women UK releasing data showing that 97% of women aged 18-24 in this country have been sexually harassed, with a further 96% not reporting those situations because of the belief that it would not change anything.
Following a meeting of the government’s Crime and Justice Taskforce, the government has said it will double the size of the Safer Streets fund which provides local measures such as better lighting and CCTV to £45m. It also have plans to send undercover police officers to clubs, bars and popular night spots to protect women from predatory or suspicious offenders. When speaking to a representative from Falmouth Council, the Anchor was told that it was too soon to say whether this is likely to happen in Falmouth.
“You’ve got to remember that you’re talking about an incident that has happened in London, in a major city, and you’re reflecting it in a town, and they’re just not comparable”
Speaking to the Devon and Cornwall police commissioner, Alison Hernandez, she stressed that responses to acts of violence need to focus on their root causes. This is why she set up the first Devon and Cornwall Serious Violence Prevention Programme which, on Monday 15 March, brought together police, charities, statisticians and behavioural experts from around the South West, to discuss how to make Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly safer for residents and visitors.
However, when speaking to a representative from Falmouth Council, he didn’t say whether any conversations have occurred about additional or further measures to ensure women’s safety following Sarah Everard’s death. Specifically in response to a question about measures that might be enacted in Falmouth, he told the Anchor: “You’ve got to remember that you’re talking about an incident that has happened in London, in a major city, and you’re reflecting it in a town, and they’re just not comparable.” He added: “You’ve got to be really careful about this because what will end up happening is people will think there is a risk to the safety of students and all people in Falmouth and that isn’t the case.”
Speaking to female students and looking at the statistic that 97% of young women have experienced sexual harassment demonstrates that this is a problem that all councils and local governments across the country should be looking further into.