The results of a study conducted by Plan International and Monash University has revealed that, across Melbourne, women feel the least safe when they’re at Flinders Street Station at night.
The study, which ran from October to December last year, asked women to record their positive and negatives experiences in public places through Free to Be, a map designed by Plan International.
Over the duration of the initiative, women between the age of 16 to 25 left more than 1300 pins on the map, with 600 comments pinpointing “happy” and “sad” spaces for women. Fourteen per cent of the respondents said they had been sexually harassed at public transport stops.
Train stations, along with trams and tram stations, were found to be the places women felt most unsafe in the city.
Along with Flinders Street, stations at Richmond, Brunswick, Box Hill, Footscray, Jewell and Jacana received the most negative responses.
Contributing factors included a lack of protective service officers, lack of light, and excess shrubbery and darkly lit roads and paths around the stations.
Not all train stations were rated negatively though. Women said they felt safest at Melbourne Central, Glen Waverley, Hawksburn, Southern Cross, South Kensington, Eaglemont and West Footscray stations.
"We know that there's a lot of anonymity in these spaces and we know that they're really transitory,” Nicole Kalm from The XYX Lab at Monash University told the ABC. “I do think that these railway stations and public transport spaces are just indicative of things that are happening more broadly."
XYX Lab has said it wants to use the results of the study to improve safety and accessibility of public transport.
Metro train stations and trains are all fitted with safety alarm buttons, with can be pressed when anyone is feeling unsafe.