By Cara Sulieman
A YOUTH organisation is campaigning for female-only taxi ranks to be introduced in Scotland’s biggest cities.
Girlguiding Scotland are asking local authorities to introduce the marshalled ranks in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen after a survey showed girls under 18 are often scared when making their way home.
The proposal comes after the organisation carried out a survey of 1,000 girl guides.
Girls Shout Out
Girls Shout Out – the report of the survey – also suggests that councils give young girls rape alarms and flip-flops when they are out clubbing.
Margaret Winter, Girlguiding Scotland’s county commissioner for Edinburgh, explained that the taxi ranks would only be for girls under the age of 18.
She said: “Girls feel that if there was a separate queue where they would get priority if they were under 18 by showing their ID then that would make them feel safer when they are out late at night.
“It would be targeted at a group of girls on their own. It would have to be situated away from the conventional taxi ranks as it could cause upset to see the girls getting priority. We think it could work in the bigger cities.
“Bus services only run until certain times and can be very difficult for girls, especially those who live in rural areas, to get home. This would help to prevent them taking risks such as accepting lifts from somebody they don’t know.”
“Need to learn how to be safe”
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, a national charity for personal safety, backs the report.
Ann Elledge, a director of the charity said: “As girls grow up and become independent, they need to learn how to stay safe.
“It is necessary for them to take acceptable risks once they are equipped with the appropriate information and skills to assess and deal with such risks. They should then be able to develop their own personal safety strategies.
“Girlguiding UK has produced an excellent report, which includes a wealth of valuable information about the concerns girls feel about their safety and the skills they feel they need in order to stay safe. As a society, we need to listen to what they say and respond accordingly.”
The survey highlighted a number of worrying and thought-provoking issues amongst young girls.
A quarter of the girls said they had been unable to get home after a night out, and one in six said they had taken a lift from someone who was under the influence of alcohol.
Many 10 to 18 year olds felt that friends who had protective parents found it harder to deal with different situations and potential threats.
And half those surveyed in Scotland felt their own parents worried too much about their safety.
A spokesman for the City of Edinburgh Council said that they already had marshalled taxi ranks, but not solely for young girls.
And Glasgow City Council said they would discuss the proposals with Girlguiding Scotland.