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Cardiff shines a light on women’s safety for Freshers’ Fortnight

The digital screens across Cardiff will include a QR code which links to the Safe Places app.

A NEW campaign aims to illuminate dark streets and help those who feel at risk find a registered Safe Place in Wales’ capital.

During Freshers’ Fortnight, more young females will walk through the streets of Cardiff at night, with many unfamiliar with the area.

Tonight (Tuesday 21 September), 35 digital billboards will light up the capital and high footfall student areas in a new initiative – FOR A Safer Cardiff – to help women feel safer at night and will run for the duration of Fresher’s Fortnight (20 September – 4 October).

The campaign comes after a recent report found that 80 per cent of women in the UK revealed that they had been sexually harassed in public spaces*.

The initiative by FOR Cardiff has been welcomed by students across the city, including final year physiotherapy student at Cardiff University, Jemma Shand (22), who said: “During 2019 Freshers’ Fortnight, one of my friends was walking alone on the way back to her halls of residence and got followed by a stranger.

“At one point, the person caught up with her and touched her inappropriately.

“I hated walking by myself in Freshers’ Fortnight, and I still don’t like it two years on even though that person was arrested.”

“Knowing that these billboards are there shining light on dark streets and have QR codes to find Safe Places makes me more confident when walking in Cardiff at night.”

FOR Cardiff is calling on businesses across the city to collaborate and create a network of Safe Places. And the scheme is encouraging all businesses, whether part of the day or night-time economy, to provide support to anyone who feels unsafe – and not only women – with a friendly face, someone to talk to, and a call, whether that’s to a friend, taxi or 999.

The digital screens, including sites on City Road, North Road and Tresillion Way, will include a QR code which links to the Safe Places app, where those who feel scared or intimidated, can find their nearest designated ‘Safe Place’.

Registered Safe Places can also be identified by a window sticker and are listed on the FOR A Safer Cardiff website.

The Safe Places scheme will continue to run beyond Freshers’ Fortnight, and businesses can apply through the FOR A Safer Cardiff website.

Businesses who have signed up to be a Safe Place have been given support and training to ensure staff members can effectively handle difficult situations.

The Angel Hotel, in Cardiff, was one of the first to announce it would be opening its doors to anyone requiring immediate refuge in the city centre after the tragic murder of Sarah Everard in March 2021 – and is now an official member of the scheme.

General Manager of the Angel Hotel in Cardiff, Richard Smith, said: “With the reopening of indoor hospitality, we have seen a lot of people come through our doors seeking refuge, with many being young women who feel at risk.

“Whether someone has run out of money and needs a safe ride home, or they’re feeling vulnerable or unsafe in any way, we’re here to help.

“Along with FOR Cardiff’s Night Marshalls, the Safe Places initiative is something that will make Cardiff a safer place for all.”

Adrian Field, Executive Director of FOR Cardiff said: “Our ambition is to make Cardiff a city where women feel confident and welcome when walking through the capital, night or day.

“With Cardiff’s businesses registering to be a Safe Place, we can do our bit to create a safer and  more welcoming environment for all who live, work or visit Cardiff city centre.”

He added: “We believe that Wales and its capital city has a responsibility to lead the way in creating a safer environment for women in the city.”

To download the Safe Places app or to find out more about how a Cardiff-based business can register to be a Safe Place, they can visit: www.FORASaferCardiff.com.