The priority of the latest round of applications for Safer Streets Funding is addressing violence against women and girls (VAWG) in public spaces. In total £25 million is being made available in this round.
Applicants may bid for up to £550,000. Matching funding is not mandatory.
In its funding guidance, the Home Office said that the tragic killing of Sarah Everard on 3 March 2021 has brought the issue of VAWG to the forefront. In round three, it will be looking for funding applications that aim to expand the evidence base on the prevention of VAWG, aiming to prevent these crimes before they occur while also increasing the perception of public safety in problem areas.
Rounds one and two of Safer Streets addressed neighbourhood crimes such as burglary, robbery and theft, with £25m and £20m being offered in these two rounds for a total of £45m. The money, awarded to police and crime commissioners and local authorities, has been invested in street lighting, home security and CCTV.
According to the 2019/20 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), 2.9% of women aged 16 to 74 and 0.7% of men were victims of sexual assault in the past year. While only a small proportion of sexual assaults are reported to take place in public spaces such as parks and streets, those aged between 16-19 were more than four times as likely to be victimised in these areas as victims aged 25-34.
The Home Office said all such crimes should be treated with the seriousness they deserve, and it is committed to taking action against them in public as well as private spaces.
The funding initiative is also aimed at addressing verbal assault against women and girls. A survey of 14-21 year olds found that 38% of girls experience verbal harassment including sexual comments in public places at least once a month, and women are less likely than men to feel safe walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark.
While these initiatives have helped to reduce property crime, there is not much evidence of their effectiveness in preventing VAWG which is why the Home Office has focused this round on evidence gather. It wants to find out what works to prevent these crimes.
The government is currently working on its next Tackling VAWG Strategy which is due to be published in the summer. It will reportedly focus on prevention, targeting offenders, adapting to the changing nature of these crimes and putting victims first in developing policy.
Alongside that, the government is working on a complementary domestic abuse strategy.
The Safer Streets Fund is open to PCCs and local authorities in England and Wales and the British Transport Police. Up to three prioritised bids can be submitted per PCC geographic area, with the BTP allowed three prioritised bids across England and Wales.
In considering bids for the fund, the Home Office is looking for proposals that are innovative and inventive and don’t have to stick to traditional Safer Streets investments such as CCTV and street lighting.
The main objectives are:
Reduce VAWG and increase women and girls’ feelings of safety in public spaces
Build the evidence base for what works in reducing VAWG and increasing women and girls’ feelings of safety in public spaces
Improve the national and local data picture regarding VAWG crimes in public spaces, which could include increased reporting for some crime types
Make public spaces safer for all by showing how the proposal could reduce other types of crime and disorder
Application form simplified
The Home Office says the application form for this round of funding has been significantly streamlined compared to round two and is divided into four shorter sections covering:
Technical capability and capacity – this includes a description of the problem, analysis of contributing factors and results of consultation with stakeholders.
For more information, visit Safer Streets Fund round 3 application process on the gov.uk website.