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Sydney’s Moore Park lights up for World Cup, survey finds most women feel unsafe to go out at night

More than half of women in New South Wales don’t feel safe walking in public after dark, according to a new report.

The Safer Cities Survey surveyed over 5,000 community members from December 2022 to February 2023. 80% of them were women.

59% of women reported feeling “not very safe” or “not safe at all” in public at night.

This corresponds to 32 percent of men.

New South Wales Transport Minister Joe Halen said the findings were alarming.

“It’s disturbing to hear that in our recent study, women were twice as likely as men to feel unsafe in public after dark,” she said.

“Feeling safe shouldn’t depend on gender. Everyone has a right to feel safe in public.”

Transport Minister Joe Heylan said everyone has a right to feel safe. (Courtesy: Government of New South Wales)

The report, which was released on Sunday, coincides with the start of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which kicks off next week in Sydney and Auckland.

The state government has announced increased lighting around Moore Park, home of Sydney Football Stadium, which hosts six games and draws tens of thousands of fans.

The opening match will be played on the other side of the city at Stadium Australia in Olympic Park, with the Matildas playing the Republic of Ireland on 20 July.

Caroline Butler Bowdon, Acting Undersecretary for Urban and Transport Activities at NSW Transport Authority, said Western Sydney’s venue had better existing lighting than Sydney Football Stadium.

“Lighting is very important. What we do know is that women choose safety over convenience when navigating the city,” she said.

“At Moorpark, we felt there was a need for more emphasis, because whether you were walking across the park, coming from Central Station, or coming from the train station, there were multiple Because there is a route for ‘light rail. “

A man on a ladder holding a light and trying to install it outdoors in a park

Lights around the fig trees along Driver Avenue are permanently installed. (Courtesy: Government of New South Wales)

Recycled lights from the VIVID installation will illuminate four routes between Sydney Football Stadium, Central Station and the Moorpark Light Rail until the World Cup final on 20 August.

The one around the fig tree along Driver Avenue will be permanent, while the others will operate on a pilot basis.

“There is some fear”

When asked what makes them feel safer in public after dark, female survey respondents said bright lighting and the presence of other people were the most important factors.

88% said that whether the space is well lit influences the route they choose.

“I never walk in alleys, parks, ovals, or secluded boulevards at night,” said one female survey respondent.

“I always send messages to my family and friends on my travels, and I ask my female friends and family to do the same.”

Young woman talking to media outdoors

College student Poppy Gross says she sometimes feels like someone is following her. (ABC News)

College student Poppy Gross lives near the stadium. She told ABC News that she feels very weak when she walks outdoors at night.

“I think young women in particular feel a certain amount of fear when they walk around at night,” she says.

“Many women have had the experience of being approached by a man, feeling like someone was chasing them, or holding a key in their hand.”

Another local, Zanza Rose, said she never walks alone in the suburbs at night.

“When I’m with my friends, I’m usually fine and I don’t think much about feeling unsafe,” she said.

“But there were a few times when I was walking home from work and I definitely hurried across the street if a man was walking towards me.”

Rose said she avoids running at night and “never wants to go home alone.”

Women reported feeling less unsafe during the day, and only 5% said they felt “less safe” or “not safe at all” in public places.

The survey was part of the state government’s Safe Cities Program, which aims to improve perceptions of safety among the state’s cities and towns, especially women, girls, and gender-diverse populations.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-07-16/new-report-finds-most-women-feel-unsafe-out-at-night/102607636 Sydney’s Moore Park lights up for World Cup, survey finds most women feel unsafe to go out at night

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