The NSW Government, the City of Sydney and the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation today announced a Safe Space trial to improve safety on Sydney’s streets at night.
The trial, long advocated by the Foundation, will provide a safe place in the city centre with help on hand for intoxicated young people vulnerable to crime, either as a victim or offender.
Under the trial, a trained Salvation Army team will staff a specially modified vehicle providing basic first aid, free water, phone and internet access, transport information and help getting vulnerable people home safely.
Ralph and Kathy Kelly from the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation said they were proud to support the Safe Space trial.
“Safe Space is all about helping vulnerable young people who could be at risk of harm when on a night out in Sydney,” Mr Kelly said.
“It will help diffuse potential criminal situations for unsuspecting victims before the crime is committed and assist those during their moment of need.”
Attorney General Brad Hazzard said the NSW Government is investing $30,000 to support the Safe Space trial as part of its ongoing commitment to reduce alcohol-related violence.
“Giving people a safe place to go to take a break or make healthier choices will reduce crime, anti-social behaviour and public intoxication. Most importantly, it may reduce the risk of them being involved in a violent incident.”
At the same time, the City will also trial a new program, Take Kare Ambassadors, where trained Salvation Army staff will assist visitors to Sydney’s late-night precincts by calling ambulances or helping them contact friends. The ambassadors will also refer people to the Safe Space vehicle.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the City was committed to working with the NSW Government to create a safer, more diverse and inviting night-time economy.
“Tonight, I will ask Council to support the Safe Space and Take Kare Ambassadors pilot with $40,000 funding. This pilot program will help improve safety on our streets by giving late-night visitors a place to sober up, seek assistance from a responsible adult and take a break from drinking.”
The head of Emergency at St Vincent’s Hospital, Professor Gordian Fulde, welcomed the moves.
“Already the government’s legislation to reduce alcohol trading hours in the CBD is having a significant impact in reducing the amount of serious alcohol-related assaults St Vincent’s is treating,” Prof. Fulde said.
“I am confident that further measures like Safe Space can also have a positive impact in reducing harm.”
The Safe Space will run during the busy summer period from the first weekend in December until March.
It will be managed and administered by the City of Sydney in partnership with The Salvation Army.
Take Kare teams made up of staff and volunteers will patrol Kings Cross and the city centre during peak periods to identify vulnerable, intoxicated or injured people and refer them to the Safe Space.
Safe Space will operate in partnership with the Thomas Kelly Youth Foundation, NSW Police, St Vincent’s Hospital, The Salvation Army, local community groups, business owners and other service providers.