Security and gender

Security planning under gender criteria is a priority goal of the municipal government.

Studies show that women are more afraid and have a greater perception of insecurity than men, irrespective of the victimisation suffered by each group. There is no direct relationship between the number of assaults suffered and the perception of security or insecurity. Many of the assaults that women may or do suffer create considerable insecurity, even if they are numerically small. This fear is an obstacle to enjoyment of their freedoms and achieving real and effective equality.

Women must not be made to be wholly responsible for their security by creating a feeling of blame which re-enforces social control: “that's what you get for not watching your bag” or “for going out alone” or “for going where you shouldn't go”... On the contrary, the responsibility for preventing assaults and guaranteeing a safe environment for women falls to society as a whole and not only on women. We need to recognise their feelings of fear as legitimate and guarantee a safe environment that empowers them and provides them with security and mobility.

Even today, public spaces in our cities are designed without taking into account the specific needs of women and the more vulnerable.

Most assaults suffered by women are not reported to the police. Other research methods are therefore required: specific surveys, group meetings, safety audits or other qualitative studies. For this reason, in 2013 and 2014, Barcelona City Council carried out a gender audit to improve municipal policies in this matter.

The systemisation of information analysis from surveys or municipal registers by gender, the design and planning of public areas using gender criteria and the extended safety audit methods are just a few of the results of this audit that have become established in municipal action.

Between 2012 and 2015, a specific analysis was carried out by gender in the Barcelona Victimisation Survey which generated some ad hoc reports. As of 2016, this information has been systematically included in the main Survey report.


Security and Gender Audit

The Security and Mobility Commission agreed to the following on 7 March 2013:

As part of the development of the 2012-2015 Citizen Security Plan, the creation of a working committee was promoted, in which representatives of the Barcelona Women's Council and specialised institutions and organisations took part, together with municipal officers, in order to produce a gender audit and to propose methodological tools that would allow the inclusion of gender criteria in the management of the city and its public areas”.

The Security and Gender Working Committee was established on 22 May, following the Mayoral Decree of 29 April 2013, and a proposal was made to structure its work into two initial stages: 1) a preliminary analysis of the scope of the City Council's knowledge about this subject, and 2) a second stage that explored the possibilities, cost and methods of organisational change and innovation for implementing the proposed initiatives.

The audit focused on public areas, presenting a comprehensive vision of security that included aspects of community life, illegal actions, police interventions, mobility and uses of public areas.

The audit was closed in the autumn of 2014, with the idea of including security planning from a gender perspective in municipal organisation, in order to improve the general public's perception of security by including specific gender factors.