Sydney After Dark

Creating a city for women living and working in Sydney.

In our analysis, it was clear that a majority of women feel unsafe in Sydney after dark and the issue of unpredictable people is a huge concern for women. The sexual violence identified in this report can have a serious impact on women’s ability to travel through and be in their city. Understanding the nuances of these relationships is paramount.

Associate Professor Nicole Kalms

This new research report is based on data collected as part of the international Free to Be project that the XYX Lab has been involved with for a number of years. This analysis dives deep into one aspect of the negative experiences of women in Sydney – that of being in public spaces during the hours of darkness.

Free to Be was designed in collaboration with Crowdspot, Monash University XYX Lab and young women within selected cities following a pilot project in Melbourne. It is an online mapping tool for women to identify and share the location of public spaces that make them feel uneasy and scared, or happy and safe, and detail the reasons why. Free to Be is sponsored by Plan International. Although it was implemented in five cities around the world in 2018, this report focused on Sydney at night at the behest of the Committee for Sydney. The committee was interested in the experiences of young women and girls commuting to and from work or out for recreation at night.

The analysis identified that for women out in Sydney at night, sexual harassment is an all too common occurrence, especially for those out for recreation. Professor Kalms explains, “These findings are particularly significant for the night-time economy and should make us all consider how we can make the city more accessible and inclusive for women working and trying to enjoy themselves out at night.”