A survey to gather the views of women and girls on personal safety in County Durham and Darlington has been launched by police.

The survey – named Call it Out – seeks to listen to the concerns and lived experiences of women and girls across the force area and understand how safe they feel.

Durham Constabulary will use the results of the survey to tackle safety concerns by working with the Office of the Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Durham County Council and Darlington Borough Council.

The survey will run until Wednesday, May 5 and is completely anonymous.

To take part, visit https://wh1.snapsurveys.com/s.asp?k=161892396031

Chief Inspector Vicki Martin, from Durham Constabulary, said: “No woman should ever feel intimidated, harassed or unsafe.

“That’s why we’re launching this survey – to enable women and girls in our community to have their say on their personal experiences and to tell us how safe they feel.

“We want to know what they think the police and our partners could do better, and also want to ensure that anyone who needs help and support knows how to access it.

“Crimes that disproportionately affect women and girls, such as sexual violence, domestic abuse, female genital mutilation and stalking have devastating consequences.

“They can have a profound and long-lasting impact on those directly affected, as well as on communities and societies as a whole.

“We need to ensure we are doing the best we can to provide help and support to victims and survivors. With a better understanding, we will be able to target a more effective response and make change where it is needed.

“To do that, we need to draw on the knowledge and experience of the public, including people who have been directly affected, their friends, family and colleagues. 

“I would urge all women and girls to please take part and share your experiences, thoughts and views with us.”  

The survey is being supported by the Office of the Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Darlington Borough Council and Durham County Council.

Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of community protection services, said: “I would encourage as many women and girls to take part in this survey as possible to share their experiences and views on personal safety

“Everyone should feel safe and secure in their community and by taking part in the survey, you can help us to have a better understanding of any areas of concern.

“I can reassure you that we will be taking your feedback on board and we look forward to working alongside our partners to make a positive difference where it may be needed.”

James Stroyan, Darlington Borough Council’s director of children and adult services, said: “We are keen to understand more about the lived experiences of women and girls in Darlington.

“This is a time to reflect on what needs to be done to reduce violence, abuse and harassment against women and girls in our community and the first step is to listen.

“The information will enable us to understand what needs to be done, and will inform our plans and approach to target a more effective response and make change. I urge women and girls to complete the survey so we can all work together to make Darlington a safer place.

“My message is simple: We are listening.”

If you have suffered any type of crime, please contact us on 101, or report it online through our 101 Live Chat https://bit.ly/3mGC5pc

Always call 999 in an emergency.

To independently access support services, contact the Victim Care and Advice Service on 0303 040 1099, or visit victimcareandadviceservice.uk

The Meadows Sexual Assault Referral Centre offers support to those who have experienced rape or sexual assault. Call 03333 448283 or visit themeadowsdurham.org.uk