Interest in the issue of women's safety has reached an all time high over the last week, following the shocking murder of Sarah Everard.

And with the phased reopening of pubs and restaurants to begin next month, Salisbury figures have responded to these concerns, in particular safety at night.

Amanda Newbery, of The Chapel Nightclub, the Purple Flag steering group and PubWatch, has recognised that offences including harassment and assault have led to women feeling unsafe within the night time economy.

However she has assured people that monthly Pubwatch meetings would maintain a focus on customer safety, adding that police visibility on the streets at closing time is vital.

Meanwhile Salisbury Women's Refuge has reminded residents that violence is mostly carried out by men known to the victim.

READ MORE: 'Go to police' if you feel at risk - inspector reacts to murder case

'Scared to see women on their own'

The Sarah Everard case sheds a light on subjects which too often people avoid talking about, according to Amanda.

“I’m so sad about what happened to Sarah, we all identify with this as this could have been anyone’s daughter or friend," Amanda said.

She added: “The best way we can sort this out is to continue close partnerships, working and talking with street pastors and police, and making sure there is police visibility when it is time to go home.

"We’re so scared when we see women on their own, we do everything we can to make sure they get home safe."

More police visibility needed

She fears the Government, by suggesting undercover police in nightclubs could help, is taking the wrong approach, adding it “reaffirms misconceptions about nightlife safety”.

Police visibility is far more important, she said.

Amanda added: "It has been a very emotional time, but if it raises issues in the right way it means we can push back at these types of incident.

"We need to talk about this more.”

Refuge welcomes media attention

Salisbury Women’s Refuge, which has been providing temporary accommodation for domestic abuse victims for more than 30 years, says it welcomes the attention the Sarah Everard case has given the issue of violence against women.

The refuge said: “It should be stressed that violence against women is mostly carried out by men known to the victim – a partner or ex-partner.

“The refuge deals with situations which have reached crisis level, where a woman fears for her safety.

"We believe that the tolerance of behaviours which denigrate or humiliate women, whether in school, the workplace or our streets, contributes ultimately to the violence against women which we deal with on a daily basis.

"The refuge does not provide services for men but recognises the importance of those services which do, to address violent or controlling behaviour towards women.”

Salisbury is 'safe'

Stories from women across the country have sparked debate on what more can be done to increase safety, but last week the Wiltshire Police Federation chairman described Wiltshire as "one of the safest counties in the country to live".

Despite this, he said police officers will always be prepared to protect those who feel at risk.

Liz Batten, who helped establish the Salisbury branch of Soroptimist International – a volunteer group campaigning to make things better for women - told the Journal there are organisations to help women feel safe in Salisbury.

READ MORE: 'People will feel vulnerable' - reaction to 'worrying' Sarah case

She added that, in her experience, the city was "safe", though people needed to keep looking out for each other after the ordeal of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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