Businesses unite to tackle city safety after dark

This article includes topics that may be triggering to some readers, including sexual harassment. If you need support, you can contact 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Businesses across Melbourne are signing up to a new charter to make the city safer and more enjoyable for everyone after dark. 

Half of the women in Australia will experience sexual harassment in their lifetime.  

Trans women and the LGBTIQ+ community also experience high levels of sexual harassment – as well as unique forms of aggression relating to their gender or sexuality, such as ‘outing’ or ‘shaming’. 

We want women and trans and gender diverse people to feel safe, confident and welcome at night. So, late last year, we ran our first summit on night safety. 

We used the findings to create a night safety charter and toolkit, as well as a public sexual violence awareness campaign in partnership with Crime Stoppers. 

Max Watt’s, Cherry Bar, Union Electric, Tessie Pearl, Colour Nightclub, Rooftop Bar, Willows & Wine and Spice Market are some of the first businesses to sign up to the charter. 

Geremy Lucas from Spice Market said, as a best practice operator, it was important for him to take lead in this area by signing up to the charter. 

‘People by nature want to feel safe and secure,’ Geremy said. 

‘They want to have fun, but they want to know that if something was to go wrong that there are strong mechanisms in place to be heard, be believed and have the correct follow-up. 

‘Creating sustainable, memorable experiences in Melbourne nightlife is our goal, and this cannot happen if patron safety and equality are not front of mind.’ 

How to get involved

Bars, nightclubs, restaurants, theatres and other businesses that operate after dark are invited to sign up to the night safety charter and commit to making the city safer for all Melburnians.  

Geremy encourages businesses to take part. 

‘Inclusion, safety and equality are the only way forward if, as a business operating in this arena, you want to remain relevant, but also be busy,’ Geremy said. 

‘If other operators don’t understand this, then they will be left behind.’ 

To receive a copy of our night safety charter and a free toolkit with practical guidelines to improve safety and reporting practices, and to be considered for free accredited training, enter your details at Project Night Justice.