Free to Be: Making Melbourne safer

SINCE its launch, women have highlighted over 850 spots on the interactive map Free to Be, and over 10,000 have visited the website – a joint initiative created by Plan International Australia and CrowdSpot.

Designed to give Victorian girls and young women a voice in making Melbourne safer, the digital mapping tool was created after research revealed one in three girls and young women don’t feel safe being out in the city after dark.

The map allows users to drop both sad and happy pins onto the map; also to explain why a location is either positive or negative for them.

According to girls and young women, the most unsafe spots in Melbourne are:

– The CBD, particularly Flinders Street between Elizabeth and Swanston Street
– Brunswick, particularly in and around Sydney Road
– Fitzroy, particularly Brunswick Street
– Footscray, around the train station

Key themes are emerging from the comments left by women who have dropped sad pins on the map; these include incidences of street harassment, verbal and physical abuse.

Happy pins cluster around parks, gardens and farmers markets by day, the State Library of Victoria as well as the Docklands library (library at The Dock).

The Free to Be map closes 12 December 2016. Visit the website at www.plan.org.au/freetobe.

“Data from the map will be shared with the City of Melbourne, Yarra Trams, Victoria Police, Public Transport Victoria, bar and club owners and retailers to help them create a city where girls and young women feel safe and welcome,” Susanne Legena, Deputy CEO, Plan International Australia, said.

Free to Be links into Plan’s global Because I am a Girl campaign. Plan is working with girls in six other cities around the world (Cairo, Delhi, Hanoi, Kampala, Lima, and Peru) to transform urban environments into places of inclusion, tolerance and opportunity, where girls can thrive.

Plan International Australia and national anti-violence group Our Watch released research earlier this year that found one in three Australian girls and young women aged 15-19 felt they should not be out in public places after dark and one in four felt that it wasn’t safe to travel on public transport alone.

Following the overwhelming success of this pilot, Plan International Australia hopes to expand this mapping initiative beyond Melbourne.

About Plan International Australia: Plan International Australia is one of the world’s oldest and largest child rights development agencies. We work in over 70 countries around the world to tackle the root causes of poverty, inequality and injustice.

Story Source: Plan International Australia

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Ryan Fritz

Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities with another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years of experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities.

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