News

Essex researchers lead project on women’s safety at night

  • Date

    Fri 11 Nov 22

Back of a woman's head walking at night towards a building (which is blurred in the background)

Researchers from the University of Essex have launched a survey which aims to address women’s concerns about going out in the county at night.

In collaboration with Essex County Council (ECC), who commissioned the research, Dr Noelia-Sarah Reynolds and Dr Juneho Um, from Essex Business School, are hoping to find out what can be done to improve night-time safety.

This research follows findings from a county-wide survey about safety carried out by ECC in 2021, which found that almost half of the female respondents felt most unsafe at night. It also revealed that 21% of women felt unsafe in pubs, clubs and bars at night with 45% of women avoiding certain nightlife or hospitality venues.

Residents are now being asked to share their views on night-time safety with a particular focus on anything related to businesses and services that run during the night such as pubs, bars, clubs, and restaurants.

Dr Reynolds said: “We are delighted to be carrying out this research, which will not only help to make women feel safer when they go out in the county at night but will also be of benefit to the economy and businesses operating in the area.

“I am very keen for research to have a broader societal impact – this is a clear example of how research can make a difference in the community.”

Dr Um added: “It is a privilege to be involved in research aimed at making people feel supported and safe and to see, in turn, what impact this has on the night-time economy.”

While this research is focused on women’s safety, the survey is open to both men and women.

As part of ECC’s commitment to making the county safer for women and supporting them in feeling safer too, this research project is one of the many initiatives launched by the Safety Advisory Group (SAG).

The SAG works with partners, support organisations, and residents, to gain a better understanding of the real fears people, in particular women have about safety. It then aims to address these issues and bring about positive change.

Deputy leader of Essex County Council and chair of the Safety Advisory Group, Councillor Louise McKinlay said: “We want all women to feel safe when out at night, and we hope that this research will help us to understand how we can address the key challenges and issues faced.

“By inviting men to also take part in the research, we hope to better understand perceptions from their point of view, too.

“We are pleased to be working with a very talented team from the University of Essex to conduct this research and I look forward to seeing what the research reveals.”

The online survey takes around five to ten minutes to complete, and responses will be used to inform future work of the SAG.

The survey is open until Sunday 18 December.