Two events to promote the safety of women and girls in parks in Kirklees are being held in the borough in June.
Organised by Safety in Music (SiM) in partnership with Safer Kirklees, the events will be held in Greenhead Park in Huddersfield on Sunday 12 June and in Crown Nest Park in Dewsbury on Sunday 26 June.
People are encouraged to bring a picnic, wear sports or dance clothes and unite to walk or dance to make parks safer spaces for women and girls.
Founded in 2016, SiM works across West Yorkshire to tackle all forms of physical violence from domestic abuse and sexual violence to youth violence and knife crime.
The organisation was set up by international DJ and producer Mark EG and safeguarding practitioner Soriya Jabeen to initially address issues of teenage radicalisation through video games, music, magazines and newsletters.
The initiative naturally grew to address all issues surrounding violence through engaging young people in creative mediums and developing positive counter-narratives and lifelong skills.
The organisation works particularly with those who don’t get the opportunity to make music, write lyrics, or produce films or games because of who they are, where they live, or what they’re going through.
Safeguarding practitioner and co-founder of Safety in Music, Soriya Jabeen, said: “We are working in partnership with Safer Kirklees to run two events in parks across the district to make parks a safe space for women and girls.
“This is on the back of the Home Office’s callout to prevent incidences such as Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa. These are high profile cases but nationally we are seeing a lot of physical attacks against women and girls.
“Parks should be a safe space for everyone, irrespective of their gender. We cover all forms of violence in West Yorkshire which could be anything from domestic violence and sexual abuse to youth violence and knife crime.”
She added: Greenhead Park in Huddersfield and Crow Nest Park in Dewsbury were targeted because they are large and well-known spaces in Kirklees. The events are inclusive, they are not just for women and girls. We’ve got to get males involved and upstanders for women and girls, calling out males who perpetrate these crimes.
“Women and girls deserve to be free to do what we want in these spaces without the fear of looking over our shoulder when we are out or checking in with friends, family members and colleagues to tell them where we are.
“Your ethnicity, faith, or sexuality doesn’t matter – we are still seen as a target, we are seen as a female object that men can get their hands on and doing what they want without consequences which needs to change.”
In December, West Yorkshire Police (WYP) because the first Force in the UK to recognise misogyny as a hate crime. Statistics have not been released by WYP on the number of recorded incidents yet, but the police announced in March that so far, there had been 59 proactive arrests for violence against women and girls-related offences across West Yorkshire.
WYP also announced that officers had carried out over 114 offender management visits and provided victims with sexual assault and domestic violence help and support.
In Kirklees, a new operation has come into effect focusing on offenders and offender management. A new Catch and Control Team has been given resources to effectively arrest and bring perpetrators to justice, as well as support those who wish to rehabilitate
The event will be held between 1pm and 3pm in Greenhead Park in Huddersfield on Sunday 12 June and in Crown Nest Park in Dewsbury on Sunday 26 June between 1pm and 3pm. For more information, visit here.