Outdoor advertiser oOh!media is aiming to create safer spaces for public transport users by prompting them to report unwanted sexual and anti-social behaviour, which is predominantly experienced by women and girls.
STOPIT, a first of its kind Australian initiative developed by Victoria Police’s Transit Safety Division (TSD), is a notification service where Victorian commuters can report non-emergency incidents by texting STOPIT to 0499 455 455.
“An automatic reply SMS containing an URL is sent and users can start the reporting process – either while the incident is happening or after it has occurred,” oOh! said. “Once completed, the notification is reviewed by the TSD STOPIT Triage Team and where appropriate, referred to TSD’s specialist Crime Investigation Unit. TSD analysis of anti-social behaviour notifications also enhances prevention and enforcement activities across the public transport network.
“Working alongside Victoria Police and at no cost to the government, oOh! is installing thousands of ‘STOPIT’ information stickers across its network of 5,200+ bus shelters. Over any two-week period, oOh!’s bus shelters are seen by 94% of the Melbourne metro audience, providing a powerful reminder to all public transport users that this behaviour is not acceptable.”
Research from Plan International, a human rights organisation promoting equality for women and girls, found that bus shelters are a key aspect of women’s safety – providing a well-lit, semi-contained environment that is protected from the elements while providing strong sightlines.
| "Should not be tolerated":
Cathy O’Connor, CEO oOh!media
Cathy O’Connor, CEO oOh!media, said: “Unwanted sexual and anti-social behaviour on public transport, which is predominantly experienced by women and girls, should not be tolerated and has lasting impacts on its victims.
“The ‘STOPIT’ initiative is an Australia first solution to encourage the notification of non-emergency unwanted sexual and anti-social behaviours on public transport. Both victims and witnesses can make notifications to STOPIT, with 12 languages available, in addition to English.
“oOh!’s purpose is to make public spaces better, and as the operator of the largest street furniture network in Victoria, we are always exploring ways to use our infrastructure for the public good. We are delighted to work with Victoria Police and provide an additional touchpoint to remind public transport users how they can quickly report incidents, stop them from happening again and make safer public spaces.”
The partnership is set to extend in 2023, with oOh! offering free media space across its Venue and Study network to reach women in pubs and clubs before they begin their journey home, as well as TAFE and university students who often frequent public transport at night.
STOPIT is a notification service only. If immediate assistance is required, call Triple Zero (000).