CRIME RATES UP: How does this affect young women?

Overall crime has risen in Victoria by 7.8 per cent last year according to acting
Chief Police Commissioner Lucinda Nolan.

In the Monash area alone, crime figures released on the Victoria Police website
indicate that there has been a significant increase in certain areas from 2011 –
2012. One of the most concerning figures is the increase in assault up by 38.7 per

This heads a disturbing trend in other categories such as sex (non-rape), which
increased by 37.1 per cent, while rape itself went from 11.3 to 19.1, an increase
of 7.8 per cent.

Recently there has been a spate of sexual assaults in Victoria, with the majority
talked about in the media involving gang rape and sexual offences related to
vulnerable women.

One of the most high profile cases is that of ABC employee Jill Meagher, who was
abducted while walking home alone on a relatively busy Melbourne street. She
was then brutally raped a number of times then murdered. Her death brought
thousands of concerned people into Melbourne to protest violence against
women and call for change.

In addition there has been the escape and consequent capture in the Glenroy
area, of notorious violent rapist Antonio ‘Mad Dog’ Loguancio, whose crimes
have caused panic and fear throughout the community.

With the increase of attacks and the subsequent rising crime rates, the safety of
all Victorians is brought into question. This particularly concerns young women,
who are considered to be more vulnerable. Why are these figures increasing – in
some cases so dramatically – and what is being done to change them?

After talking to several young women who live and study in the Monash area,
a certain reoccurring theme of deep concern is apparent in relation to their
perception of safety.

Monash University student Angela Tucker said, “I think women and especially
young women are the targets for rape and sexual assault and I think with these
statistics on the rise, I and many other young women feel vulnerable.”

Despite the Coalition’s $200 million pledge in 2010 to increase protective
services officers by 940 members, in an effort to make areas such as Victoria’s
public transport safer, it is clear many young Victorians still feel the need for
greater action.

“More police patrols at night; I believe that an increased presence of authorities
alone would have an effect on crime. Maybe some visible information or
advertisement on how victims can prevent these events – things like phone
numbers to call if you feel in danger or see something that concerns you,” said
another Monash student Sam Munn, when asked what she thought should be
done to try and change these crime figures.

Tucker further said, “I think there should be harsher penalties on things such
as assault, rape and sex crimes and also, possibly more of a police presence in
the area or even visible security cameras in areas such as stations and nearby

When asked, all of the young women agreed that they would not feel safe
walking around by themselves at night in the area. In a region greatly populated
with students, this is a relevant concern for all those who live in Monash, not just
the women.

Monash Medicine student, Abigail Popiel, had this advice; “Women should
try and be accompanied by someone at times where they are probably most
vulnerable (measures they should take could be to call Monash security to escort
them to halls or their car). They should also try and learn basic self-defense and
keep alert at times and places where there are potential safety risks. If possible
don’t listen to music with headphones in, look around”, she said.

In light of these recent figures, some advice is to lock your car doors, particularly
when driving alone, and try to park in well-lit areas.

It’s easy to think that Monash as a University is a safe haven for students,
especially those who have just come from school, and who aren’t used to being
security conscious. Be aware that it could happen anywhere.

However for all those interested, Clayton offers 24/7 security, with the Clayton
Security Office located in building 61, and information on the Monash website.

A security bus service is also available between 5.30pm and 12.30am Monday to
Friday, which leaves approximately every 30 minutes. The security bus route/
bus stops can be found on the campus map. The security bus will also drop
off only passengers to the west of the campus on Woodside Ave up to Clayton
Rd, and to the south of the campus in an arc bound by Wellington Rd, Princess
Highway and Blackburn Rd.

For general Monash Clayton security call 9905 3059 and in an emergency call
9905 3333.

Tags : News
Elizabeth Boag

The author Elizabeth Boag

My name is Elizabeth Boag, and I'm completing my third year of a bachelor of journalism at Monash University. I'm from Victoria's Mornington Peninsula and hope to one day get a job as a journalist. I'm excited to be involved with Lot's Wife this year, and am looking forward to my role as a National Affairs section editor.

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