Organisers of Australia’s annual Falls Festival have announced a range of new safety measures they will implement at this year’s festival, after a number of alleged assaults occurred at last year’s events.
Two young women were allegedly sexually assaulted at the Marion Bay leg of last summer’s Falls Festival, before a 32-year-old man was charged after allegedly grabbing a 19-year-old girl’s breast in a Falls mosh pit.
In 2018, organisers are promising “a number of new measures across all events”, in an effort to support victims of assault or harassment.
“Should an incident occur, we look to make the process of reporting incidences more supportive for victims of assault or harassment,” organisers say.
“Falls will also empower our event team with the tools to handle these situations confidently through specific training programs.”
Falls Festival is also introducing sexual assault counsellors at all of its 2018/2019 events, who will “provide immediate crisis care, introduce victims to local support services for short and long-term help and guide them through the various processes should they want to engage police to pursue further action”.
Organisers are also promising more CCTV cameras across their sites, more security in the festival campgrounds, special training for staff and formal sexual assault incident response protocols.
Closer to the festival, organisers will also share details of safety hotlines and locations.
“Falls has a zero tolerance policy with regard to dangerous and irresponsible behaviours, the safety of our patrons is our foremost concern,” say Falls co-producers Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco.
“We work year-round to bring together incredible events, at some of Australia’s most iconic locations – we want everyone to feel free and safe in our spaces and to leave with great memories.”
UNSW Criminology lecturers Dr Bianca Fileborn and Dr Phillip Wadds are also developing independent research regarding sexual assaults at festival, including the 2017/18 Byron Bay leg of Falls Festival.
“This research will provide us with valuable insight with regards to further measures of prevention and ensuring appropriate incident management,” say festival organisers.
Falls Festival’s 2018/2019 dates, locations and music lineup are expected to be announced later this month. Stay tuned to Music Feeds for all the latest.