An aerial view of Sydney city, looking down on high-rise rooftops and intersections. Photo: Unsplash/Alexander Pidgeon

UOW commits to Greater Cities Commission’s Women’s Safety Charter

UOW commits to Greater Cities Commission’s Women’s Safety Charter

Initiative brings together organisations to work towards safer spaces for women, girls, and gender diverse people

The University of Wollongong (UOW) is continuing to take a stance against gender-based violence with the announcement this week that it has committed to the Greater Cities Commission’s Women’s Safety Charter.

A multi-disciplinary, cross-sector initiative, the Women’s Safety Charter brings together organisations from across the private, government and community spheres to create safer public spaces for women, girls, and gender diverse people.

This encompasses the development of policy and practices, improving transport choices, driving behaviour change, understanding key pain points in city design, bystander intervention, and supporting women, girls, and gender diverse people to access all parts of a public space at any time of day.

UOW is part of a diverse network of organisations who have signed up to the Women’s Safety Charter, which aims to build better, more inclusive spaces and cities that can be enjoyed by everyone.

The Women’s Safety Charter builds on UOW’s commitment to creating a safe and respectful environment for all community members. The Safe and Respectful Communities (SARC) initiative has a number of projects underway dedicated to improving student safety on and off campus including Set The Bar, Consent Matters, Ride with Respect, and deep engagement with key community sexual assault and domestic violence service providers.

Professor Trish Mundy, Chief Integrity Officer at UOW, said the Women’s Safety Charter was a great initiative that further offered the University the opportunity to have a tangible impact on the issue of gender-based discrimination and violence.

“The Charter’s founding principles of championing a culture of gender equality through collaboration and continuous improvement are at the core of our university values and clearly align with our resolute commitment to address the findings of the National Student Safety Survey, which highlighted unacceptable rates of sexual assault and harassment occurring in university contexts and within the wider community,” Professor Mundy said.

“Our commitment is reflected in the provision of trauma-informed support provided by UOW’s Safe and Respectful Communities team for those who have experienced sexual and other harms, regardless of when or where the harm occurred, as well as proactively working to make our campuses and local communities safer spaces.

“We hope the Charter will help build further meaningful collaborations with our university and community partners to build safer public spaces for women, girls, and gender diverse people.”

The Women’s Safety Charter is facilitated by the Greater Cities Commission, with support from its foundation partners Transport for NSW and Committee for Sydney.

UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Patricia M. Davidson said the University was happy to support an initiative that focused on the safe and respectful treatment of women, girls, and gender diverse people.

“UOW will always strive to be a safe place for all. This underpins everything we do,” Professor Davidson said. “Most women and gender diverse people know the feeling of unease and concern when they do not feel safe in a certain place or setting. The Women’s Safety Charter is working to address that. It places safety at the centre of its approach to future planning. We are proud to support such an important initiative.”

The Women’s Safety Charter is based on three foundation principles: a culture of gender equality; listen, share and reflect; and collective action and continuous improvement.

It aims to shift behaviour and attitudes around women’s safety through the following focus areas: safer places; transport, active transport and mobility; communication and education; events and activations; and data and knowledge sharing.