Commuters will now be able to report incidents of unwanted sexual behaviour more discreetly by using their mobile phones as part of an Australian-first Victoria Police service.
The new service, called STOPIT, enables victims or witnesses to text a dedicated police transit team about details.
In response a link is sent to the phone, requesting further information.
The new technology was three years in the making and designed to help combat sexual offences and help commuters feel safe on public transport.
Most incidents go unreported and it’s hoped that can change, Superintendent Alison Boyes says.
“We have a very high rate of identifying offenders for reported incidents so by telling us, we can do something about it,” she said.
It will give police a better idea of exactly what’s occurring, and help them to identify perpetrators, Assistant Commissioner Dean McWhirter said.
Victoria Police worked with the Department of Transport, public transport operators, the Public Transport Users Association and women’s advocacy groups to develop the service.
A similar service in the UK has been credited with empowering victims and bystanders to come forward.
STOPIT can be reached by texting 0499 455 455.