24 October, 2016: Girls and young women in Melbourne invited to develop interactive city safety map

Plan International Australia and CrowdSpot have joined forces with Victorian girls to work towards a more welcoming, safer and inclusive city for girls and young women. Girls and young women are invited to make their mark on a public interactive map – Free to Be - where they can drop a pin on a location in the city and describe her experience of that particular area.

Plan International Australia Deputy CEO Susanne Legena said despite Melbourne having a very low level of crime, one in three girls and young women still don’t feel safe being out in the city after dark.

“Unfortunately, Australian girls say they sometimes feel just as unsafe in some public areas after dark as girls from countries with far higher rates of violence,” Ms Legena said.

“This is concerning and we need to really listen to girls and start to make positive changes to our urban environment to ensure they always feel safe and welcomed.

“Their experiences 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.”

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 girls should not be out in public places after dark and one in four felt it wasn’t safe to travel on public transport alone.

“We’ve taken these concerns very seriously. That’s why we invite girls to use this map to point out those places they love, the places they avoid and areas they feel could be improved. The map is fun and easy to use and was designed by girls for girls, to best capture their experiences.”

Ms Legena said this project 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.

“Girls and young women are usually unheard when it comes to decisions about their safety. This map is designed for young women and girls to have a say. Whether those experiences are big, small, positive or negative, we will listen to those stories and these will help us to make the world’s most liveable city even more welcoming and secure for girls.

“By sharing their experiences, they’ll be joining girls around the world who are reclaiming their cities thanks to the work of Plan International.”

Visit the website at www.plan.org.au/freetobe

Plan International Australia representatives are available for interview. Please call Jane Gardner on 0438 130 905 / jane.gardner@plan.org.au

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. More information: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/