Safe Spaces Now

Making every UK space safer for every woman. Now.

How safe did you feel the last time you walked home?

Almost every woman knows what it’s like to walk home with their keys between their fingers, phone in hand, glancing behind every 10 seconds. We turned that feeling into data. On 10th March 2021, we released a report revealing the prevalence of sexual harassment across the UK. This data was made up of our audience’s stories, of what they’d experienced, and it was shared so many times that it reached over 1 billion people online:

  • Over 70% of women in the UK say they’ve experienced sexual harassment in public
  • Only 3% of women aged 18-24 told us they hadn’t experienced any of the behaviours we asked about
  • This is a global issue – almost 9 in 10 women in some cities around the world feel unsafe in public spaces
  • Every 10 minutes, somewhere in the world, an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence
  • Data from YouGov Survey of over 1,000 women, commissioned by UN Women UK in January 2021

When you don’t feel safe – whether it’s on your journey home, at your place of work or in a public space – your movements are restricted.
Your life gets smaller.

It shouldn’t have to be that way. This is how life could be instead: safe, open and inclusive for all.

Imagine a world where…

…you felt safe, no matter what space you were in

…you could go anywhere you choose, without fear of harassment

…you could go out at any time you choose, without worrying about what might happen

What would you do?

The systems currently in place to reduce violence and harassment just don’t work

Only 4% of women told us they reported the incidents of harassment to an official organisation – with 45% of women saying they didn’t believe reporting would help change anything

We need a whole system change.

What is Safe Spaces Now?

A programme working to create a world where women and girls feel safe in public spaces, across the whole of the UK

When we released our report on the prevalence of sexual harassment back in 2021, we knew the story didn’t end there. We needed solutions. These solutions needed to be designed alongside the people needing them the most. People like you.

Together with our supporters, we brought together 400 women and girls in design thinking workshops to create a blueprint for a safer reality. The result? 150 solutions for change. We took them to Parliament and asked the UK’s leaders to take action.

Those solutions are now becoming a reality. We’re bringing together governments, local authorities, public services, transport providers, event organisers and many more. To start changing the way the UK’s public spaces are set up for women.

Behavioural change workshops with key stakeholders in public spaces Bystander and prevention training for stakeholders and supporters alike New skills to change mindsets, intervene and support others

This is what Safe Spaces Now has achieved so far (and there’s still plenty more to come):

  • A new APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) made up of Parliamentary representatives, working on Safe Spaces Now as one of their key goals
  • 300 reports of safety on London’s streets, which we analysed for our real-time pilot study with Safe and The City to highlight what needs to change in urban areas
  • 10 music festival activations with 550 trained volunteers
  • Takeover of Westminster Tube advertising space with art showing a Safe Spaces Now journey
  • Partnership with Addison Lee to deliver behavioural change workshops and equip their drivers to spot sexual harassment and safely support the target

10 years of global experience tackling harassment. Being brought to life at home in the UK.

The Safe Spaces Now programme is based on 10 years of creating safer public spaces around the world through the wider UN Women family and the Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces UN Women global framework.

Take a look at how we’re creating Safe Spaces Now: through festivals, transport providers and businesses

Safe Spaces Now: Festivals

Festivals should be about music, dancing and making memories with your friends. Not fearing sexual harassment.

Together, we can make festivals safe and inclusive for everyone.


Safe Spaces Now: Transport

What happens when your day is over? You need to get home safe.

Because you shouldn’t have to walk home clutching your keys between your fingers.


Safe Spaces: at Work

Coming soon

You can help us create even more Safe Spaces Now across the UK

Your donations help deliver critical campaigns, like Safe Spaces Now here in the UK, fund humanitarian aid in crisis situations, and rebuild communities hit by natural disaster and political unrest.

When you become a monthly donor, you get an exclusive monthly briefing on gender equality sent straight to your inbox. And there’s more:

  • Your monthly donor-exclusive newsletter – get our monthly donors’ briefing on a key issue impacting gender equality, straight from our Executive Director. And hold your own with the latest facts, figures and stories in your next conversation on gender equality
  • Early access to UK events – access registration for our events, like the Commission on the Status of Women, our feminist book club and UK workshops, 48+ hours before anyone else
  • An annual online donors’ seminar – join us each year to examine the state of gender equality and get answers to those big questions with the team at UN Women UK