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This New Report Identifies the Most (and Least) Safe Spots for Women in Sydney

The Plan International project has analysed over 1000 incidents of harassment from its interactive Free To Be map.
By Libby Curran
April 10, 2019
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This New Report Identifies the Most (and Least) Safe Spots for Women in Sydney

The Plan International project has analysed over 1000 incidents of harassment from its interactive Free To Be map.
By Libby Curran
April 10, 2019
  shares

Last year, Plan International launched an interactive map for Sydney women to report incidents of street harassment. Thousands of Sydney girls and women used it to drop pins on locations around the city — either 'good' for where they felt safe, or 'bad' for where they felt threatened. Now, that data has been pulled and analysed for a new global report titled Unsafe on the Streets, which shines a spotlight on the rates of street harassment experienced by women across the world.

It was based on 750 shared experiences from women in Lima, Delhi, Kampala and Madrid, as well as our own harbour city. The local version of the Free To Be map — which found that 90 percent of women have felt unsafe in Sydney at night — identified three main high-traffic areas where women most commonly felt unsafe: Newtown's King Street, Central Station and nearby Belmore Park, and the area around Hyde Park and Town Hall.

On the Sydney map, a total of 1175 pins referenced incidents of sexual harassment, with 176 of those highlighting harassment by a group. Overall, the survey showed the most common harassment by far was the verbal kind, including aggressive threats and catcalling. One 18-year-old Sydney women shared that she'd been catcalled by construction workers on her way to a job interview, saying that it 'threw her off' for the rest of the day, as "being catcalled makes you want to cover yourself in heaps of layers and hide". Another recalled how she was followed by two young unknown men in a car, while walking home from a party.

While most of the map participants dropped pins to highlight unsafe areas, about one quarter identified 'good' spots, based on things like busyness, adequate lighting and the presence of security or police. Three of the safest spots — where the good pins outnumbered the bad — have been identified as the UNSW Kensington campus, the area surrounding Circular Quay and the Royal Botanic Gardens, and McIver's Ladies Baths in Coogee, which happens to be one of the only female-only spaces in the city. One commenter even called it the 'safest and best place to be a woman in Sydney'.

Of the Sydney women surveyed, 43 percent were aged between 21 and 25, with a further 26 percent between 16 and 20. Over a third of the reported incidents occurred late at night, with places like bus stops and outside school gates proving prime spots for harassment.

You can read the full Unsafe On The Streets report here, and the Sydney-specific report here

Published on April 10, 2019 by Libby Curran

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