On Friday 9 March, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, together with the Central Students’ Union, were delighted to welcome The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to the Embassy Theatre for the launch of his new strategy to tackle violence against women and girls.
As a part of the launch, the Mayor joined Central staff and students in a discussion surrounding the themes of the strategy with Imkaan (a UK-based, black feminist organisation dedicated to addressing violence against Black and ‘Minority Ethnic’ Women and Girls), the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Sophie Linden, the Victim’s Commissioner Claire Waxman, Night Czar Amy Lamé and MP Tulip Siddiq.
Imkaan, a UK-based black and minority ethnic women's organization which works to prevent and respond to violence against marginalized European girls and women, facilitated the consultation work with survivors that fed into the strategy.
The Mayor’s new wide-ranging strategy, backed by a record £44m investment up to 2020, follows the biggest in-depth consultation with survivors as well as Londoners, police and partners. It includes measures to tackle rape, sexual assault, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), trafficking, controlling behaviour, forced marriages, stalking, harassment, and misogyny - building on the recent international #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said:
“The safety of all Londoners is my first priority and as a proud feminist I find it simply unacceptable that any woman or girl in our city should experience these devastating crimes. As we mark 100 years since the first women were entitled to vote and in the week of International Women’s Day, it is time for every Londoner to call out sexist and misogynistic attitudes wherever they encounter them – in the workplace, at school, on the streets or on public transport. My new strategy puts forward a comprehensive package of measures to intervene and prevent violence against women and girls, to tackle dangerous individuals who pose a risk in our communities, and to improve services for victims who have already suffered so much. I want every woman and girl to be safe and to feel safe wherever they are in our great city – and will use all the levers available to us at City Hall to make this a reality.”
On hosting the event Central’s Principal, Professor Gavin Henderson, said:
“Central’s students and staff were greatly encouraged by the recent visit of Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London. Together with Central’s Students’ Union, our Zero Tolerance commitment in terms of sexual harassment and in protection of women and girls accords well with the GLA’s own determination. The Mayor gave freely of his time, taking part in stage workshops with staff and students facilitated by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women’s group Imkaan. He clearly enjoyed himself … for nigh on two hours!”
The Students’ Union at Central has recently led on a campaign launched together with the School – “Central Says Enough” – to address the issue of sexual harassment and violence on campus by bringing a zero-tolerance commitment to every corner of the institution.
Jake Saunders, Students’ Union President at Central, said:
“#CentralSaysEnough is a truly collaborative, preventative model for tackling sexual harassment and violence on our campus. We (Central SU) are working with our institution to implement a number of zero-tolerance practices that we hope will begin to become engrained in life at our school.”
Dr Catherine McNamara, Pro-Dean and Director of Learning, Teaching and Student Experience at Central said:
“There are several aspects to our work to tackle sexual harassment and sexual violence here at Central. A key aim for us, is to make our support and reporting systems more visible in order to rapidly build individuals’ confidence to speak with us, if they have experiences of this nature. Working in a truly collaborative way with officers of our Students’ Union and with students more broadly is proving to be invaluable. We are speaking with all staff and all students as well as making connections with a number of organisations and institutions beyond Central.”
The publication of the London Tackling Violence against Women and Girls Strategy was a commitment in the Mayor’s Police and Crime Plan. It is published on the Mayor of London’s official website.
For more information about the #CentralSaysEnough campaign, please visit the website of the Central Students’ Union.
Working in a truly collaborative way with officers of our Students’ Union and with students more broadly is proving to be invaluable. We are speaking with all staff and all students as well as making connections with a number of organisations and institutions beyond Central.
Dr Catherine McNamara, Pro-Dean and Director of Learning, Teaching and Student Experience