Three initiatives to help you feel safer getting home alone at night in Edinburgh

97 per cent of women have been sexually harassed

The disappearance and death of Sarah Everard has led to a searching conversation about women’s safety in the United Kingdom. Many women came forward and shared their own stories about how they felt scared and unsafe walking around alone. Hundreds have taken to social media to express their concerns on the topic.

In fact, new data has shown that 32 per cent of women in the UK feel unsafe when walking alone in their local area at night. Meanwhile, only 13 per cent of men expressed the same concern.

Recently, a 16-year-old girl was sexually assaulted in Princes Street Gardens. The young girl was walking through the park at night when she was attacked. Incidents like this happen too frequently, making people terrified of being alone in their local area at night.

An investigation by UN Women UK found that 97 per cent of women aged 18-24 have been sexually harassed, with a further 96 per cent not reporting those situations because of the belief that it would not change anything.

Since these shocking statistics were released, services have been popping up across the country to keep people, especially women, safe.

Here are three initiatives that are designed to help keep people safe at night in Edinburgh.

1. Registering with 999.

You can now register your phone with 999 before an emergency happens. This means if you are in a situation where you feel as though it is unsafe to call the police, you can send a text message instead.

Simply text ‘Register’ to 999 and once you get the automated reply, you are usually asked to confirm if you would like to register to make sure the original text wasn’t a mistake. All you have to do is reply ‘yes’ and then you are connected to the service. It’s that easy.

2. StrutSafe

StrutSafe is a volunteer organisation dedicated to getting people home safely in Edinburgh. People feeling uneasy about walking home at night can call their number and a central dispatcher will send out a pair of trained volunteers to walk you safely to your destination, or if you would prefer they can just stay on the phone with you until you are home.

This service operates Friday, Saturday 7pm-3am and Sunday 7pm-1am; and also on Thursday night if you’re at Rascal’s at Bourbon. The number to call is 0333 335 0026.

Two Edi students, Rachel Chung and Alice Jackson, founded Strut Safe in hope that it would make people feel safer on the streets of Edinburgh. The service has now blown up and receives weekly calls from London, Manchester, and Brighton.

Alice (a recently graduated Edi History student) told The Edinburgh Tab:

“First of all, we are completely blown away by the incredible support that we have had from people, both in-person from family and friends but also online and on social media. It inspires us to keep pushing forward with what we are doing, work harder, and see how we can improve the service and make a difference. We have a platform now and we want to use it to make the lives of women, particularly, safer.

“Something exists now that wasn’t there before, and we hope by using our service people don’t feel as afraid and if we continue to grow as we have been, then perhaps one day we can make real fundamental change. Women, people of colour, queer people don’t deserve to live in fear, they deserve to live in power.”

You can find out more about the service on their Instagram page here.

3. HomeSafe

An Edinburgh local has launched HomeSafe, a service to ensure women in the capital get home safe from bars and pubs. Jay Lynch has teamed up with City Cabs to offer women a safe taxi home for free if they mention HomeSafe.

HomeSafe aims to help women get home safe who may not be able to afford it. Instead of deciding to walk home alone after a night out because it’s cheaper, you will now be able to use this great service.

The organisation will run on donations and money raised by Jay. They have created a GoFundMe page and any donations will go to a dedicated City Cab account that locals will be able to book a journey on.

Jay is currently in the process of reaching out to pubs, clubs, and bars and hopes the service will be fully operational soon.

You can find more information on their Instagram page here.

The harrowing reports of sexual assaults across the UK have fuelled a nationwide conversation, resulting in services like this taking a stand and doing more to keep people safe. By spreading awareness and doing everything in their power to help put an end to these sickening attacks, we can start to feel safe in our local area.

Rape culture is pervasive and is now embedded within our society. But these Edinburgh-based initiatives are finally standing up for what’s right and showing it’s time to put an end to rape culture.

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