Greater police presence 'not enough' say women of colour

New flats on the Ipswich Waterfront.

Calls have been made for more surveillance and a larger police presence on Ipswich Waterfront after a woman was sexually assaulted - Credit: Ipswich Borough Council

'We don't feel safe' - that is the cry from women in Ipswich who want long term measures to make them feel secure at night.

After a serious sexual assault in the town on Sunday morning which saw a woman chased along the waterfront, into a courtyard and attacked, calls were made for a greater police presence.

But while higher profile patrols would make some women feel safer, it is not the answer for everyone and one campaigner wants a more long term solution in Ipswich.

Lanai Collis, volunteer for Wassup, a youth social action project under Volunteering Matters, explained that for her the police would not be her first port of call. 

The 20-year-old said for women of colour, a police presence might not help them feel any safer.

She explained: “Even having a police presence for me wouldn’t make me feel safe as a black woman.  

“I don’t want to go to the police."

However, she said the increased police presence seen over recent weeks does help send a message to perpetrators of threatening, intimidating and even violent behaviour towards women will not be tolerated.  

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She went on to say that "there is not a simple or quick fix" to this issue and that funding and education is key to resolving what she describes as a public health issue.  

“We need to fund our services – Suffolk Rape Crisis and Lighthouse Women’s Aid.   

“We need to raise the profile of these services so that while we’re trying to fix these issues and whilst it continues to happen, women feel safe and they know where to go to become educated."

She said schools too had a responsibility to teach children about respecting one another and added: “Even looking at the curriculum, from a really young age we need to instil in all genders that actually we all have a responsibility to keep each other safe."

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