A crowd sourced map allows people to report safety concerns in real time, and may make women feel safer to travel and walk alone at night.
On 15 November 2023, “YourGround NSW” launched as a free, interactive crowdmap that enables users to report safety concerns in real time. From this date until 8 February 2024, it will run as a trial and accept submissions.
The map is the collaborative efforts of Monash University’s XYX Lab and digital consultancy Crowdspot in partnership with the NSW Women’s Safety Commissioner, the Department of Communities and Justice, and Transport for NSW, as part of the Safer Cities program.
It is a measure taken in response to the concerning results of the NSW Government’s 2023 Safer Cities Survey, which found that 59 per cent of women surveyed feel unsafe most or all of the time in public spaces after dark, compared to 32 per cent of men. Of the women who were surveyed, 76 per cent said if they were safer they would walk more, and 69 per cent would catch public transport more often if they felt safer.
The guiding principle of the program is that safety in our cities, where we work, live and play, is a human right.
Users of the site can pinpoint locations on the interactive map to log the time of day, what the lighting and environment is like, how busy it is, and whether there has been an incident in that place.
The results of reports and feedback from users will be analysed by researchers from the XYX Lab when submissions close in February 2024, culminating in a report that provides insights and recommendations on how cities, towns, community spaces and transport can be more accessible, equitable and inclusive.
YourGround NSW follows the implementation of YourGround Victoria, which received almost 6000 submissions between April and July 2021.
Dr Hannah Tonkin, inaugural NSW Women’s Safety Commissioner, says, “Everyone has a right to feel safe and welcome on our streets, parks, paths and beaches, yet almost two in three women say they do not feel safe at night in NSW. Feeling unsafe can limit people’s ability to access education, employment and services, and to engage fully in their communities.
“By hearing directly from women and gender diverse people as they move around their cities, towns and regions, YourGround NSW will amplify their voices, help us understand their experiences, and provide important data and evidence for NSW policymakers into the future.”