Help map places in Portsmouth where you feel unsafe

Portsmouth City Council is working with Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service (PARCS), part of the national charity Family Action. The project aims to gather intelligence on hot spots in the city where residents feel particularly vulnerable, such as streets with low lighting, or where problem behaviour, like intimidation, sexualised or hate-based harassment, or being followed, occurs.

Supported by the Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s Safer Streets Fund, it focuses on tackling violence against women and girls in the community, but anyone who feels unsafe can share information and report places where they feel at risk of sexual or hate-based violence and harassment. The information gathered will help to identify and focus on potential perpetrators, to disrupt problem behaviours such as sexual crime and gender-based abuse.

Donna Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I am delighted to see this funding being used to help women and girls feel less at risk of sexual or hate-based crimes.

“By working together, we can combat the hate, harassment and sexual violence that blight so many lives.

“This is one of a number of excellent initiatives that range from prevention, right through to supporting victims in a timely manner when they have been through the worst crime you can survive.”

Several previously identified hot spots have undergone improvements in recent months, including community artwork to make spaces more welcoming. New CCTV and lighting have been installed at Portsbridge Underpass in Cosham and Belmont Path in Somerstown, to improve route safety. In addition, Hampshire Constabulary is undertaking additional training alongside licensed premises around identifying potentially vulnerable people and how to safeguard them, increased patrols, and partnership work to target and disrupt perpetrators of gender-based violence and sexual crime.

Residents can report places of concern in confidence, by texting PARCS on 07860 022 932. An optional call-back will be offered by PARCS within approximately 2-3 days, providing additional support if required. The text number is not a crime reporting tool. In an emergency you should always call 999. If you’re safe and not in immediate danger, you can report a crime to the police by calling 101 or visiting

Cllr Jason Fazackarley, the council’s Cabinet Member for Safety in the Community, said: “We want people to tell us the places in the city where we can make a difference and improve safety in the community. We know from other projects that environmental changes, such as improved lighting, can make a real difference to how safe people feel and reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.

“If you’ve had a bad experience in a particular area or felt like you’ve had to go out of your way to avoid somewhere, let us know and we can build a clear picture of where we need to prioritise improvements. You don’t need to leave any personal details unless you’d like a support call back from PARCS.”

Claire Alldis, Service Manager at Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service (PARCS), Family Action, said: ” We know from research and statistics that women and those of marginalised genders are more likely to experience these types of behaviours directed at them, and they are unlikely to make a report for various reasons.

“By listening to the community, we can understand their experiences and implement positive changes that aim to make the city safer for all. We need to challenge the attitudes and behaviours in our society that have gone unchecked for decades, that some people feel they can get away with. Initiatives like this help to challenge the status quo and let everyone know that hate, harassment and sexual violence of any kind should not and will not be tolerated.”

This project is one of several schemes aimed at tackling violence against women and girls in the community. A network of businesses and venues across the city is being established where staff are trained to look out for abusive behaviour and support those who have experienced harassment or sexual violence. Schools, businesses and people who work with the public during the evenings and at night, such as bar staff and taxi drivers, have also been offered training on how bystanders can help combat and prevent sexual violence.