Fostering safer parks for women and girls in West Yorkshire and beyond through multi-agency collaboration, knowledge exchange and the co-design of research-informed guidance

Parks are vital public spaces that have numerous benefits for health and wellbeing yet concerns about safety constrain women and girls’ use and experience of them. Existing national research shows that four out of five women and two out of five men felt unsafe walking alone after dark in a park or other open space (Office for National Statistics, 2021). 

A new collaboration between West Yorkshire Combined Authority, West Yorkshire Police, Keep Britain Tidy, Make Space for Girls, Leeds Women’s Aid, the Vulnerability and Policing Futures Research Centre and the University of Leeds aims to share and exchange knowledge, evidence and best practices to improve understanding of women and girls' safety in parks and co-produce research-informed parks guidance. 

The collaboration builds on the findings of a recently completed study exploring women and girls’ perceptions of safety in parks led by Dr Anna Barker and Professor George Holmes at the University of Leeds as part of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority-led Safer Streets 3 project, funded by the Home Office. 

The partners will collaborate on various activities, including a regional knowledge exchange seminar, an international symposium, research-informed parks guidance and co-design plans for new research activities linked to this agenda. New research will explore how sympathetic crime prevention and landscape design, neighbourhood policing and park management may prevent VAWG in public parks, enhance women's feelings of safety and build trust and confidence.