A women’s safety assessment is a process that involves women walking through a physical environment, evaluating how safe it feels, identifying ways to make the space safer, and using that feedback to highlight the need for those changes. It may involve assessment of a site before an event or self-assessment by attendees during an event, or the assessment of public areas/spaces or buildings and facilities. They aim to improve the safety of women in the ACT by including women and girls in the evaluation of public events, facilities and spaces. One of the guiding principles of the women’s safety audit is that women are the experts about their own sense of safety and have knowledge about the spaces that they use.
Safety assessments have been used by WCHM to identify public places in the ACT where women feel unsafe, and to understand the problems and what elements contributed to their safety concerns. This feedback is use to inform ACT Government, and to influence the future design of urban spaces, facilities and public events in the ACT.
In 2013 WCHM received funding from the ACT Women’s Grants to further develop the approach and to give online access to tools that women could access to be involved in women’s safety assessments in the ACT. This resource is titled Women’s Safety in Public Spaces