Summary of Findings

The Right to the Night project was conducted by the City of Ballarat and project partners to help improve community safety. It used an interactive website to gather ideas from local women and girls about locations in the Ballarat city centre

Between March and May 2018, 153 people added at least one location of interest to the website.
They shared over 300 locations in total and explained why they thought each location was either safe or unsafe

Participants were mostly female (86 per cent). Their ages ranged from 10 to 67 years, with an average age of 35 years

Safe locations were generally well lit and often in busy areas with lots of people and obvious security. Unsafe locations were typically those where unpredictable people congregate, or in areas with poor lighting, unkept buildings or litter

The number one concern for participants was intimidating public behaviour. Various locations across the city centre were thought to be unsafe because participants had either been personally harassed or intimidated there, or they had witnessed public drunkenness, drug-affected people or intimidating behaviour in those locations

The City of Ballarat and its project partners will use the results from Right to the Night to inform decision-making around the design of safer public spaces within Ballarat.

What we found out

  • Around one-quarter (23 per cent) of participants identified locations as being safe during the project period. The most common reason for a location being considered safe was it being well lit
  • The most common reason for a location been considered as being unsafe was the presence of unpredictable people
  • Public art, culturally diverse and family friendly atmosphere, open spaces and presence of people and activity were typical attributes of safe locations
  • People under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, being approached for money, graffiti and isolated areas were typical attributes of unsafe locations
  • The safest location was identified as being Lydiard Street North between Sturt and Mair Street and Sturt Street
  • The most unsafe location was identified as being Coles/Woolworths supermarket carpark precinct, followed by Little Bridge Street.

The project Evaluation can be found in the Document Library

What we heard from you

Messages we heard during the post project Workshops:

  • Replicate the attributes of safe spaces in unsafe spaces
  • Strengthen collaborations with service providers to respond to behaviours considered unpredictable
  • Transform the physical infrastructure of the Little Bridge Street Bus Interchange and its immediate environs
  • Activate public spaces to improve both actual and perceptions of safety
  • Assign a protective guardian, like Police, Security Guards or Protective Services Officers to spaces considered high risk

Project Outcomes

  • Production of a geo-spatial map of locations regarded by women as safe or unsafe across the Ballarat Central Business District
  • Project data used to inform organisational strategic planning including Bakery Hill and Bridge Mall Renewal Project and infrastructure delivery including delivery of LED lighting project
  • Project data used to support successful funding applications including
    • White Flat Recreation Reserve Safety Improvement Project $187,000 State Government (Public Safety Infrastructure Fund)
    • Little Bridge Street Bus Interchange Placemaking Project - $29,000 State Government (Graffiti Prevention Grant)
    • Little Bridge Street Precinct/ Bakery Hill Project – $450,000.00 Federal Government (Safer Communities Funding)

Next Steps

  • Evaluation recommendations to undertake geospatial safety mapping in other locations, including health and medical precinct, which was initially commenced in March 2020, but postponed as a impact of COVID-19. Replanned for 2021.
  • Advocate for continued improved safety outcomes across Council’s strategic planning relating to the precinct

Award wins
In 2018, the City of Ballarat was recognised for its Right to the Night Project at the Australian Local Government Association Awards.

In March 2019, the project was also recognised at the Municipal Association of Victoria's Riding the Wave Technology Conference as part of the Technology Awards for Excellence. The project took out the Smart City Achievement of the Year Award. These awards celebrate the efforts and achievements of local government and their groundbreaking approaches to information and communications technology solutions.

Project Partners