I am proud to see the City of Sydney supporting the Safe Space program in Sydney Square, which has been designed to help some of the most vulnerable people in our community: young people under the influence of drugs and alcohol. In acknowledging the risk to young people, the City has taken a proactive step to address the safety concerns of this target group with a non-judgmental and non-punitive approach, awarding a cash grant of up to $40,000 in September 2014 for this program to cover the busy summer period. This is exactly what needs to be in place, in order to provide an effective buffer for young people who are at risk of being victims (or perpetrators) of crime.
Safe Space is operated by professionals in the field of youth work and places workers on the street between the hours of 10pm to 4am, and has proved highly successful preventing hazardous situations. The ‘Take Kare Ambassadors’, as they are known, offer support to young people, as well as providing practical assistance such as providing water, as well as transport options to remain safe. Statistically, the program has proven itself essential, in helping more than 1800 people. This includes assisting young people in the de-escalation of conflict, young people vulnerable to sexual assault, theft and traffic injury. With community concerns around harm reduction, this program is an instrumental step in addressing youth issues around drugs, alcohol and the safety concerns inherent within them.
I applaud the City’s commitment to community safety, and the safety of vulnerable youth through this innovative program. I support the recommendation to provide further funding to give this program a chance to establish itself over the next three years, and as a supportive system that young people can come to rely on. In the next round, the program will be extended to Kings Cross.