Project name: Project Night Justice
Organisation: City of Melbourne
Grant Fund: Crime Prevention Innovation Fund
Grant amount: $193,000
Project Partners: Victoria Police, Crime Stoppers Victoria, Full Stop Australia (previously known as Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia), the University of Melbourne.
Video transcript of Project Night Justice
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City of Melbourne – Project Night Justice
Aerial views of the City of Melbourne. Shot of a dark, crowded dance floor in a nightclub. Exterior of the Spice Market with clear shot of its sign.
Project Night Justice is one of 16 projects statewide sharing 4.4 million dollars as part of the first round of the Victorian government's Building safer communities program. This unique partnership approach between traders, local government and university researchers, aims to improve safety for women and gender diverse people enjoying Melbourne's vibrant nightlife.
Interior of the Spice Market, showing the large, lavish bar area. Shots of DJs mixing table and lights.
Geremy Lucas, Owner – Spice Market:
The reason that our venue wanted to be involved in Project Night Justice was this is something that we've always championed at our venue level. I felt that we were really going to see progress with that and we would actually see change.
Everybody wants to be safe. What's innovative about this approach is we've got all these sectors working together with different experiences. At venue level, we were able to explain where does a patron see a message. Victoria Police shared information about when the times of night that things tend to go bad.
Because from our experience our customers are happy when they have a night out where they feel safe, they feel secure and they know that the venue has their back if something was to go wrong.
Anyone who doesn't want to sign up to this, I think they're going to get left behind because this is the only way forward.
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Funded under the Crime Prevention Innovation Fund, Project Night Justice aimed to improve personal safety for women and gender diverse people visiting the Melbourne CBD at night through a suite of activities including:
- holding a Night Safety Summit
- developing a Night Safety Charter and Toolkit
- implementing the Step Up Speak Up sexual violence awareness campaign, and
- a Good Night Out Accreditation program and training.
Geremy Lucas, executive director of Melbourne’s popular night-time venue Spice Market, has been involved in the business long enough to recognise the importance of a framework like this.
Since opening the venue with his brother in 2008, Geremy has seen first-hand how women and trans and gender diverse people can be treated differently and be at risk when enjoying all Melbourne’s nightlife has to offer.
“I wanted to get involved in Project Night Justice from an operator's perspective, but as we’ve developed this charter it can only have good outcomes for everyone involved”.
Geremy played a key role in the development of the Charter, alongside the City of Melbourne and other key stakeholders of Melbourne’s night-time economy.
Providing insight on the best way to help people stay safe at night, he raised a few complexities that come with the nature of night-time venues.
“If you’re going to put a poster up the best chance of it being read is if it’s in the bathrooms, or in the cloak room area, given the high energy nature and lighting of these environments”.
“It’s also crucial to ensure signage has options, such as a QR code, that translates the message into other languages, and that they can be read in low light environments”.
Training staff to keep themselves and their customers safe has always been important to Geremy, who has invested heavily in monthly staff training sessions to empower his staff to know what to do if customers find themselves in difficult or risky situations.
Project Night Justice’s Charter and Toolkit will ensure Spice Market continues to be a best practice venue, and will encourage other night time venues to get on board with this initiative.
“The charter allows businesses to be part of a larger conversation and evolve in regards to inclusion, which can only be a good thing”.
And while he does believe it may take some time for all night-time patrons to get on board, he believes most people, particularly the young people of Melbourne, understand the challenges faced by so many when heading out at night and embrace changes to keep them and their friends safe.
“Inclusion is a work in progress, but it’s getting better, and venues will be left behind if they’re not part of this change”.
“It’s about ensuring people of all walks of life are safe”.
- Find out more about projects funded under the Crime Prevention Innovation Fund.
- Find out more about Crime Stoppers Victoria support for Project Night Justice .
- Find out more about City of Melbourne and Project Night Justice .