'It doesn't matter how much women do' - how can Ipswich be made safe?

An incident where a man kissed and touched a teenager without consent happened on November 13

Recent reports of sexual assaults in Ipswich are causing worry among residents - particularly women - Credit: Google Maps/Ella Wilkinson/Lucy Taylor

Keeping women safe in Ipswich requires better education and behaviour changes from men, a Kesgrave activist has said. 

Renewed debate about women's safety in Ipswich comes after a teenager reported being kissed and touched without her consent by a man who appeared to be drunk.  

Suffolk police said the incident happened at around 10.15pm on Saturday, November 13, in Bramford Lane, while the 17-year-old was walking with another woman.

Organiser, Laura Polley, of Suffolks Reclaim The Streets event

Laura Polley is an organiser of Suffolk and Ipswich's Reclaim the Streets movement - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

Laura Polley, from Reclaim the Streets Ipswich, said: "We know that sexual assault is on a spectrum, ranging from cat-calling someone on the street to rape and murder. 

"It is petrifying to hear about so many incidents recently in Ipswich. 

"It's not the time to be telling women how to protect themselves - it's time to tackle misogynistic views, to say that women are not here to be treated like sexual objects and never have been. 

"And this latest report is quite telling: even when women do what they're advised to and go out with others, they can still be assaulted. 

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"It doesn't matter how much women do to avoid these issues, they still happen - whether we're alone or in company, walking at night or in daylight, whether we're putting covers on our drinks or not using headphones - where are the safe places? 

"We want to prevent as many assaults as possible and to start that change we need better education and behavioural change."

Alasdair Ross said it was reviewed every year. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Alasdair Ross has said the council works hard to make Ipswich as safe as possible

Speaking about the steps the council is taking to make the town safe, Cllr Alasdair Ross, Ipswich Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Community Protection, said: "We work hard to make the town as safe as we can.  

"We use our own CCTV system and work closely with the police to deter crime, help people feel safer and provide evidence for court cases.  

"A recent example is the CCTV we have installed in the Maple Park area and which will move between different locations in the neighbourhood. This camera was paid for by the Safer Streets Fund, which has also led to various other initiatives to deter crime, particularly against women. 

"We also use a whole host of powers to tackle anti-social behaviour, such as Public Spaces Protection Orders which are designed to stop individuals or groups committing anti-social behaviour in a public space."

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