Feeling safe is important to health and wellbeing. How safe we feel can influence our social habits and feeling of freedom (Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care, undated). Feeling unsafe can increase feelings of stress and anxiety (Australian Government Treasury 2023). During the renewal of the Boroondara Community Plan 2021–2031, one in 5 consultation participants cited personal safety and security when asked 'What’s important to you in Boroondara?' 

In Council’s 2020 community health and wellbeing survey, more than 90% of the 347 participants agreed with the statement that 'Boroondara is a safe community' (Figure 1). This survey showed no substantial difference in perceptions of safety between males and females. 

Similar surveys often show that women report feeling less safe than men (for example, Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017 and  Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and Peace Research Institute Oslo 2021), including a 2015 survey of Boroondara residents (VicHealth 2015 cited by Women's Health Victoria 2023). 

The similarity of males’ and females’ responses to the 2020 Council survey may be because this survey asked about the safety of the community, whereas the other examples cited asked about individual feelings of safety in particular circumstances.

Bar chart which shows that 93.1% of females and 92% of males agreed that  'Boroondara is a safe community' in a 2020 survey conducted by Council.

Figure 1: In 2020 the vast majority of people agreed that 'Boroondara is a safe community'.

In 2021, YourGround collected feedback from women and gender diverse people on perceptions of safety in public spaces around Victoria. Crowdsourced surveys are not representative and so caution must be exercised in generalising results to the broader population. Based on feedback submitted about 'inner suburban' Melbourne public spaces (including those in Boroondara), unsafe spaces were often perceived to be unsafe because: 

  • of poor lighting
  • of the behaviour of others
  • it is hard to see what or who is around
  • there are no other people around.

In contrast, inner suburban Melbourne public spaces that felt safe were often perceived to be safe because: 

  • they are well-maintained
  • it is possible to see what or who is around
  • the pathway is safe.

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