Safer Parks – Research and Guidance

Women and girls often do not feel safe in parks and so use them less. This is unfair and unequal – and it’s what this new guidance on safer parks sets out to change.

Safer Parks – Improving access for women and girls

Parks are essential for everyone, they give us access to nature, spaces to relax and to meet friends, room for activity. A good park can be the heart of its community. But these benefits are not equally open to all.

Women and girls often do not feel safe in parks and so use them less. This is not just because they fear crime, they also feel uncomfortable, unwelcome and judged.

Women are three times more likely than men to feel unsafe in parks during the day, and that gets worse after dark.

This is unfair and unequal – and it’s what our new guidance on safer parks sets out to change.

It’s based on research from the University of Leeds on what women and girls think would make parks safer, more attractive places where everyone feels they belong. The guidance is aimed at everyone who cares about how parks are designed and managed. Some of the suggested changes are simple and cheap, others more complex, but they are all designed to improve safety and inclusion.

Better design and management can’t solve all the problems which keep women and girls out of parks, but with the right planning, funding and support, the benefits of parks and green spaces can be enjoyed more equally by everyone.

This guidance is where we begin.

 

The research

 

The guidance

 

Next steps

This guidance is only a starting point. To create change, it needs to be acted on.

The first step is to share both this summary and the full guidance document with as many people as possible, to ensure that the importance of safety is at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

The safety of women and girls needs to be written into policy, considered in every design decision, planning statement and management process or evaluation.

Work with as many other partners as possible to create interventions and access funding which can be used to improve the park.

But don’t wait. There are things that can be done immediately. Use the guidance to find what can be changed now. Look at the parks around you with different eyes.

Most crucially, the voices of women and girls need to be heard at every stage of the process.

 

Conference and All Party Parliamentary Group meeting

The Safer Parks guidance was launched in May 2023 at an international conference at the University of Leeds, which brought together over 100 attendees from a range of professional and academic backgrounds. Read the conference report and watch the videos of the presentations.

In July 2023 the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Parks and Green Spaces focussed on the issue of the safety of women and girls in parks. Read the minutes of the meeting and watch the video of the meeting.

 

Report Concerns

People can report safety concerns in public places, including parks, anonymously using the StreetSafe map. The information is used by police and partners to address the issues raised.

You can also contact your local park management or neighbourhood policing teams.

Bradford

Park Management
Neighbourhood Policing Team

Calderdale

Park Management
Neighbourhood Policing Team

Kirklees

Park Management
Neighbourhood Policing Team

Leeds

Park Management
Neighbourhood Policing Team

Wakefield

Park Management
Neighbourhood Policing Team