Victoria University and the Wellington City Council are working to make it safer for students to walk home.
Following sexually motivated attacks on a number of women earlier last year on Boyd Wilson steps, both the Council and the University have attempted to improve the security and lighting in the area.
Changes include the enhancement of lighting in the area, the cutting back of foliage, and four new CCTV cameras, which are monitored 24 hours a day.
Campus Security is also conducting nightly foot and mobile patrols across the Kelburn Campus in order to make the University safer.
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The changes were implemented after heavy pressure from students at the Victoria, which included a protest entitled “Let Me Go Home” organised by the VUWSA Women’s Group that led to a discussion on the safety of women on campus.
In addition, a change.org petition by Sofia Roberts and Lucy Moss-Mason that gained over 1000 signatures demanded that the police, the University, and the Council work together to improve the safety of female students.
These actions were taken after the Council failed to improve lighting in the area in response to complaints by residents.
The Council also went so far as to advise women to avoid the path entirely in favour of another route. The Boyd Wilson steps have been a common place for assaults on students over the past ten years.
Despite the improvements, VUWSA feels more could be done to improve safety.
Last year VUWSA looked into the possibility of panic stations, which are in place at the University of Otago and the University of Canterbury. Plans included a panic button, and a phone with a light attached. However, the University has not installed these stations.
VUWSA President Rick Zwaan assured Salient that the association was aware there were “still lots of gaps” but it was “continuing to work on a number of initiatives such as pushing the uni to improve the likes of pathways [and] creating a simplified and effective way for students to report incidents or get hold of security in emergencies.”
The University insisted there had been improvements in the safety of the area since increased security. In an official statement, the University said “since these measures were taken, there has been a marked decrease in criminal behaviour on the pathway with no reported cases this year to date.”