Melbourne users of the hookup website Squirt are using the app to report danger areas for homophobic assaults.
Last week, Westgate Park and Footscray Park were reported as sites of recent attacks by groups of men. The reports follow more alleged attacks in Footscray Park earlier this year.
One user wrote, “Beware there is a group of dickheads around here looking for trouble. There is about 8 of them.”
Another left the comment, “Fuck I just escaped with my life. I was about to go to the dunnies when 5 or 6 guys jumped out of the bushes with bars … have the police showed up yet?”
Inspector Adrian Healy of Victoria Police said no police reports have been made, but they are aware of safety concerns at Footscray Park.
“I want to reiterate our commitment to the safety of the community,” said Healy. “On the whole Footscray is inclusive and secure, and police patrols in the area will be focused on the safety of park users to ensure this.
“I encourage anyone who witnesses or is subject to threats, discrimination or victimisation on the basis of sexuality or gender identity to inform police immediately—we are here to help.”
LGBTI community members can contact a LGBTI Liaison Officer (GLLO) for support in reporting crimes to police.
Anyone who prefers not to speak to the police or would like support can also contact VAC on 1800 134 840 for help.