Spurred on by the murder of Sarah Everard in March, one group in Clapham and Brixton is striving to make women’s safety a priority.
Aware of this unfortunate reality, Exeter-based Talisker Alcobia Cornford, 22, established the closed Facebook group, Urban Angels in March 2021, aiming to provide a space to support the safety of women, non-binary, and gender-fluid people in Exeter.
Less than a year later, Urban Angels have expanded significantly and there are now 14 communities across the UK, one of which covers Clapham and Brixton, both hubs for students and young professionals, owing in part to the vibrant nightlife these areas boast.
Clapham, especially, has recently gained notoriety as a dangerous space for women following Everard’s murder, which took place in the vicinity last March.
Madison Hall, 25, who oversees Urban Angels Clapham and Brixton said: “I attended the vigil at Clapham Common, which evoked a powerful sense of community, highlighting that we need to keep this momentum going in the area and channel the widespread emotion into a drive for positive change.
“Like most of my female friends, I have experienced sexual harassment and felt unsafe in a public place on more than one occasion, and this is not okay.”
Like its sister groups, Urban Angels Clapham and Brixton is a space to share alerts of dangerous or suspicious behaviour in the community.
It also offers advice on precautionary measures women and non-binary people can take to feel safer in public (i.e., carrying personal alarms or legal self-defence paint spray).
On top of this, group members can access guidance on issues such as how to take legal action if your drink is spiked or how to be an active bystander if you witness sexual harassment in a nightclub
Hall said: “I am committed to creating a supportive network and providing resources that empower women to feel more confident on the streets, and to always raise their voices and educate those around them.
“It shouldn’t be the responsibility of women and non-binary people to change their behaviours, and we should instead be focusing on how we can work towards a more equal society through education and breaking down the negative and misogynistic cultures responsible for creating predators in the first place.
“That being said whilst we tackle this big challenge, sadly, it is key for women to take preventive measures to keep themselves safe.”
Expanding the community is one of Hall’s main goals for the future, with the aim to eventually reach all women and non-binary people within the area.
On top of this, she intends to work with community volunteers to execute initiatives such as a ‘walking home together scheme’, and to collaborate with existing women’s safety groups to ensure as great an impact as possible.
Anyone interested in getting involved in Urban Angels Clapham and Brixton can message Madison Hall on Facebook or email [email protected].
Also, those wishing to discover more about the community can follow their Instagram page @the.urban.angels