Falls Festival has announced it will introduce a number of new measures to ensure the safety of its patrons at this year's events.
Following an independent research piece conducted at the 2017/2018 Byron Bay event into sexual assaults at festivals, conducted by Lecturers in Criminology at UNSW, Dr Bianca Fileborn, Dr Phillip Wadds and their team, Falls will introduce sexual assault counsellors at all sites this year who will sit between the onsite medical teams and police.
The counsellors will be able to 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 with police.
All Falls events this year (Byron Bay, Marion Bay, Lorne, Fremantle) will also have an increased number of CCTV cameras and security in the campgrounds, key event staff to undertake psychological first aid training and specific training for all event staff in dealing with reports of sexual assault or harassment.
"Falls has a zero tolerance policy with regard to dangerous and irresponsible behaviours, the safety of our patrons is our foremost concern," Falls co-producers, Jessica Ducrou and Paul Piticco, said in a joint statement.
"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."
The move comes after three sexual assaults were reported at the festival's 2017 events.
The new initiatives will be introduced alongside measures already set in place by Falls organisers, including its 24-hour attended Patron Safety Hotline.
The support program for young people, Red Frogs, will also be onsite in Byron Bay and Lorne.