A new report by Monash University has revealed the top Melbourne train stations where women feel unsafe.
Between October and December last year, women were asked to use Free to Be, an online map developed by Plan International Australia, to record their positive and negative experiences in public spaces, including train stations.
More than 1,300 pins and 600 comments were examined, with Flinders Street, Richmond, Brunswick, Box Hill and Footscray named among the stations that yielded the most negative responses.
Women who used the map spoke about their experiences of men who called out to them or followed them off the train.
New figures from the Crime Statistics Agency of Victoria showed that transport regulation offences are up 58.4 percent in the last 12 months.
Stations that received positive responses included Melbourne Central, Glen Waverley, Southern Cross, South Kensington and West Footscray.
Positive comments on Melbourne stations often highlighted busy, well lit areas with a police presence.
Monash University’s XYX Lab director Dr Nicole Kalms said that the research highlighted the devastating effects of being sexually harassed or assaulted while using public transport.
“If we want public transport to be equally accessible to all, it is critically important to examine these public spaces as our city grows and new stations, routes and timetables are developed,” Kalms said.
Women under the age of 30 made up 72 percent of Free to Be users.
The report showed that one in four women believed it was unsafe to travel alone on public transport at night.
Plan International Australia chief executive Susanne Legena said “It’s not acceptable that young women, in 2017, are still experiencing harassment and assault on our trains and trams, both at stations and on the street.”
Metro is aware of the reports, and is working with Free to Be ambassadors to make improvements and encourage women to feel safe on public transport.
Submissions for the Free to Be map are now closed. The results of the map can be viewed here.