How do you get home after dark? She’s A Crowd, a winner of the NSW Government Safety After Dark Innovation Challenge, are working on putting agency into the hands of women and other vulnerable groups in Sydney.

The team behind She’s A Crowd have designed a journey planner that takes into account your safety, by finding innovative ways of using our data to give people access to the information they need to get home safely after dark. 

We are a feminist tech start up that works to make cities safer for women. We have an anonymous story telling platform, which allows anyone, anywhere in the world to share their story. It’s about providing the data to address the gender data gap too.She’s A Crowd founder and CEO Zoë Condliffe told Star Observer.

We collect all the subtle data, everything from sexist comments to covert photo taking, verbal harassment up to much more serious incidents of rape. We show decisions makers that this is a whole spectrum of experiences you would never otherwise know about because they only focus on the crime statistics.

One of the things we try to focus on is showing decision makers that there is more than one way to go about this. I think an easy fix that people like to do to is to have more police, more PSO’s on transport and more CCTV. These are the types of authority-based responses that the government likes to use to send a message.

With gendered violence its actually very different to say, your typical male on male punch on. You have covert harassment, things you can never catch on CCTV, you have existing mistrust of authorities, and you have a lot of issues that fly under the radar, that having more police around just isn’t going to fix.”

 According to Transport for NSW, research into women’s safety revealed that girls and women do not always feel safe participating in Sydney at night. While many factors contribute to this, transportation was identified as an area where improvements could be made.

“With the New South Wales Government, we’ve decided to design an algorithm using our data that takes into account safety as well other factors when planning your journey. It allows people to plan their journeys from A to B in a way that takes in safety from a gendered perspective.

We know that a lot of the people most vulnerable to violence and feeling unsafe in public spaces are women and non-binary people, trans people and other vulnerable groups. We know that people who are less likely to be believed – women, indigenous people, people from the LGBTQI community, migrants and refugees – are the ones that experience barries to reporting, such as internalisation or normalisation of the issue, mistrust of authorities, or even thinking it would be too difficult to go through the process of reporting.

This is not ok, people actually deserved to feel 100% safe moving around their city, no matter who they are, no matter what they wear or what they look like, no matter how much they’ve had to drink.”

 Next week She’s A Crowd will be hosting two online focus groups for all cis and trans women, as well as non-binary people who are comfortable in a space that centres the experience on women. With input from these groups feeding into a journey planner for women’s safety after dark.

The focus groups are all about gathering the perspectives and experiences of people in Sydney who have experience as a woman or a gender diverse person, they are going to be really foundational,” Condliffe added. We want to know what the most important factorfor women and gender diverse people that influences their perception of safety. We want to do a deep dive into people’s experiences, to really understand where they feel safe and unsafe or whether they would use a platform like this.

As a start-up, we are really about validating and testing every single thing before we do it, but we are also very survivor-centric so we want to hear first and foremost from the source ‘what’s your experience, how have you experienced this particularly place or type of incident?

“I would also encourage people to share their stories through our platform, first and foremost that’s the most important thing people can do, because without those stories, we can’t make any change.”

If you are in Sydney and would like to participate in one of the upcoming focus groups you can register or find out more info here.

To find out more about She’s A Crowd, or to share your story, you can head to the organisation’s website.

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