India Eve Chipchase
1995 - 2016
The Cheltenham Guardians Safeguarding Team (CGST) is a specialist female safeguarding service provider delivering enhanced and emergency safeguarding services into Cheltenham's night-time economy.
Partnering with Gloucestershire Constabulary, Cheltenham Borough Council and local strategic partners our primary and priority function is to help ensure the safety, security and well-being of women at night. Uniformed and covert officers deliver this through our flagship India Protocol safeguarding initiative every Saturday night and Sunday morning between 10pm and 4am.
Our wider function may extend to the provision of general welfare services and emergency services support should circumstances allow but not at the detriment of India Protocol service delivery.
Since our launch in 2015 our award-winning volunteers have ensured the safety of thousands of women and have saved the community, the emergency services, the NHS and the criminal justice system over £1.5million and thousands of operational duty hours at no cost to the police or local authority.
Today in 2023 we are an integral and essential component in the safeguarding provision in Cheltenham's Saturday evening and night-time economy.
INDIA PROTOCOL SAFEGUARDING
Female safeguarding. Female management. Female focus.
Launched in 2016, the India Protocol was the first targeted activity of its kind. Today in 2023 it is the most proactive and robust female-focused safeguarding initiative in any night-time economy in the United Kingdom, responsible for safeguarding thousands of women in Cheltenham at night.
For over 7 years, Cheltenham Guardians Safeguarding has prioritised the safety of women and girls in Cheltenham's Saturday evening and night-time economy. We have a head start on local authorities and police forces across the United Kingdom who are now giving this serious issue the acute attention and resources it deserves - and not before time we feel.
THE INDIA PROTOCOL IN MOTION - FEMALE SAFEGUARDING
Proactive engagement with women in the night-time economy
Safe transport home or to the India Protocol Nightcare Hub
Highly visible uniformed patrols, on foot and in marked vehicles
Plain-clothes safeguarding officers operating inside of venues
Proactive and reactive incident intervention
Intelligence acquisition, analysis and sharing
NEW SAFEGUARDING CHALLENGES
In May 2023 a large number of male asylum-seekers were placed into former student accommodation in Cheltenham town centre. The Cheltenham Guardians Safeguarding Team conducted a risk and threat assessment of this new dynamic and concluded that the risk of harm to women and girls in the night-time economy area had increased.
We have witnessed a number of these males repeatedly approach lone and vulnerable females at night. Further, a number of these males have committed sexual offences inside of venues in Cheltenham.
We continue to work with our strategic partners in order to mitigate risk for women and girls and counter this new threat to safety and security in the town centre.
Misogyny, inappropriate sexual comments, sexual harassment and sexual assaults are commonplace in Cheltenham's night-time economy. Behind the facade of our 'Purple Flag' night-time economy our town suffers the same disrespectful, harmful and illegal treatment of women that night-time economies across the country suffer. We do what we can in Cheltenham to counter this.
The India Protocol is named after, and operated in memory of India Eve Chipchase, a 20-year-old female who was coerced away from a nightclub in Northampton in 2016 by a sexual predator before being raped and murdered. We are hugely grateful to the Chipchase family for their friendship and support.
Administered by our Nova team volunteers the Nightcare Hub is a female-led, female-focused India Protocol support facility located at 1 Royal Crescent in Cheltenham town centre (behind the coach station).
The Hub is open to the Guardian team, police, ambulance service and community partners who may return vulnerable females to a safe, secure and supported environment. The Hub is also open to 'walk-in' female service users who may utilise the following services free of charge:
Female safe and secure space
Rest and recovery area
Peer support and signposting
Female toilet facilities
Female hygiene products
Safe pick-up point for parents, family or friends
The Nightcare Hub is open every Saturday night between 10pm and 4am.
Service provision for non-female service users who present at the Hub will be administered externally by our Guardian team (subject to availability and assessment) and not within the Hub estate.
REFUSAL OF SERVICE
The Nova team and the Cheltenham Guardians Safeguarding Team reserve the right to refuse or withdraw care if the safety, security and welfare of our service users or volunteers is threatened.
Our thanks to the Royal Air Forces Association for the use of this space and to Cheltenham BID for their sponsorship of the facility and ongoing support.